Preventing Running Injuries and Debunking Myths: Part Three

Runner at dusk

Author: Joel Mason, PT, DPT, SCS, CSCS
Contributing Author: Sarah Schultz, MS, LAT

Many individuals enjoy the freedom and competition that running provides. There is much to know about running to be effective and safe in this growing sport. Here are a few running myths to consider.

Running Myth One: Running barefoot will cause injuries by stepping on broken glass, nails or other sharp objects in the street.  The risk is much less than most people think and may be much less than the risk of developing other injuries (plantar fasciitis, fat pad atrophy, knee, hip and back problems, etc.).  It will get your feet dirty though!

Running Myth Two: Soft surfaces decrease the stress on our knees and will help prevent stress fractures.  When we run on a soft surface, our body tenses up to prepare for impact; leading to knee extension, which causes the heel to strike first and the body to brace itself.

Running Myth Three: Minimalist or Barefoot Running Shoes are the same as running barefoot.  Absolutely not! While Vibram Five Fingers are closer to barefoot running versus traditional shoes, you are actually more likely to get injured running in minimalist or barefoot shoes versus regular shoes if you do not modify your form (bending knees more, mid to forefoot strike, etc.). The research only says your form will automatically change with Vibram Five Fingers. However, the surest way to ensure form modification is to run completely barefoot which will give you the proprioceptive input needed to change your form.

About Sarah Schultz

Sarah is a Licensed Athletic Trainer at Sports, Spine and Work Center. She provides Athletic Training services at Campbellsport High School and provides Industrial Services to the community through WorkSTEPS testing, the Work Hardening Program and doing ergonomic evaluations. She is an avid cyclist and barefoot runner. Sarah’s other interests include dynamic stretching, core strengthening, rehabilitation, muscle recovery techniques, and sports nutrition.

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2 Responses to Preventing Running Injuries and Debunking Myths: Part Three

  1. Stacy May 10, 2013 at 12:09 pm #

    I worry about the particles getting lodged in my feet….but since you said not to worry…I’m not gonna worry about it. I think I’ll give it a go after this rainy nonsence….don’t want anyone thinking I’m a nutso. Thanks Sarah for these great tidbits of info.

  2. Sarah Schultz May 17, 2013 at 9:39 am #

    Stacy – I never had anything “lodged” in my foot, but on occasion, you may have a rock that sticks to your foot and need to brush it off. For this reason alone, I did purchase a pair of New Balance Trail Minimus that have the Vibram bottom. Remember, you should learn to run barefoot first before transitioning to a minimalist shoe; because if you heel strike in a traditional shoe, you will most likely heel strike in a minimalist shoe. You also need to give your calves time to adjust to their increased demand. Happy running!

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