Barefoot Running: Biomechanics and Implications for Running Injuries

@article{Altman2012BarefootRB,
  title={Barefoot Running: Biomechanics and Implications for Running Injuries},
  author={Allison R. Altman and Irene S. Davis},
  journal={Current Sports Medicine Reports},
  year={2012},
  volume={11},
  pages={244–250}
}
Despite the technological developments in modern running footwear, up to 79% of runners today get injured in a given year. As we evolved barefoot, examining this mode of running is insightful. Barefoot running encourages a forefoot strike pattern that is associated with a reduction in impact loading and stride length. Studies have shown a reduction in injuries to shod forefoot strikers as compared with rearfoot strikers. In addition to a forefoot strike pattern, barefoot running also affords… 

Figures from this paper

Orthopaedic Perspective on Barefoot and Minimalist Running

A lack of cushion and support promotes a forefoot or midfoot strike rather than a rearfoot strike, decreasing the impact transient and stress on the hip and knee.

Barefoot Versus Shoe Running: From the Past to the Present

  • Y. Kaplan
  • Medicine
    The Physician and sportsmedicine
  • 2014
Although there is no evidence that confirms or refutes improved performance and reduced injuries in barefoot runners, it seems that barefoot running may be an acceptable training method for athletes and coaches, as it may minimize the risks of injury.

Overload injuries in barefoot/minimal footwear running: evidence from crowd sourcing

It is speculated that special adaptations - which may take years and thousands of kilometers to become effective of the neuromuscular control play a major role, very similar to the thousands of hours a person needs to play and practice playing the piano before becoming a musician.

Acute kinematics changes in marathon runners using different footwear

Contrary to the expectations, it was found that highly trained habitually shod elite marathon runners changed their lower limb kinematic pattern both when running barefoot or wearing minimalist shoes.

Transitioning to minimal running footwear; implications for performance and running related injury when compared to conventional running shoes.

A MFW transition was found to significantly improve running economy and gait-retraining may have a negative influence on RE, but higher plantar pressures and loading rates were noted in MFW vs. CRS that may increase injury risk during this transition period.

Acute effect of different minimalist shoes on foot strike pattern and kinematics in rearfoot strikers during running

It appears that minimalist footwear with lower heel heights and minimal shock absorption is more effective in replicating barefoot running.

Evaluation of the Injured Runner

...

References

SHOWING 1-10 OF 53 REFERENCES

Barefoot running claims and controversies: a review of the literature.

Although there is no evidence that either confirms or refutes improved performance and reduced injuries in barefoot runners, it seems that barefoot running may be an acceptable training method for athletes and coaches who understand and can minimize the risks.

Biomechanical and physiological comparison of barefoot and two shod conditions in experienced barefoot runners.

The data of this study support the assumption that changes in the foot-ground interface led to changes in running pattern in a group of experienced barefoot runners and the Fivefingers model seems to be effective in imitating the barefoot conditions while providing a small amount of protection.

Effects of footwear and strike type on running economy.

Minimally shodrunners are modestly but significantly more economical than traditionally shod runners regardless of strike type, after controlling for shoe mass and stride frequency.

Lower Extremity Mechanics in Runners with a Converted Forefoot Strike Pattern

Runners are sometimes advised to alter their strike pattern as a means of increasing performance or in response to injury. The purpose of this study was to compare lower extremity mechanics of

Barefoot-simulating footwear associated with metatarsal stress injury in 2 runners.

2 cases of metatarsal stress fracture in experienced runners whose only regimen change was the adoption of barefoot-simulating footwear are reported, alarming in that they occurred in experienced male runners without any other risk factors for stress injury to bone.

Running-related injury prevention through barefoot adaptations.

It is hypothesized that the adaptations which produce shock absorption, an inherent consequence of barefoot activity and a mechanism responsible for the low injury frequency in unshod populations, are related to deflection of the medial longitudinal arch of the foot on loading.

Impact characteristics in shod and barefoot running

Increased impact characteristics are often cited as a cause of running injuries. One method that has been used to reduce impact characteristics is to increase the thickness of the midsole of running

Forefoot Running Improves Pain and Disability Associated With Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome

In 10 consecutive patients with CECS, a 6-week forefoot strike running intervention led to decreased postrunning lower leg intracompartmental pressures, which were greatly reduced for up to 1 year after intervention.

Biomechanical factors associated with tibial stress fracture in female runners.

Data indicate that a history of TSF in runners is associated with increases in dynamic loading-related variables and the magnitude of tibial shock predicted group membership successfully in 70% of cases.

Biomechanical analysis of the stance phase during barefoot and shod running.

...