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The pros and cons of barefoot running

Who may benefit most from barefoot or minimalist running?

While running barefoot or in minimalist shoes may have paid off for a number of elite athletes, it may not be ideal for everyone. Before simply jumping into barefoot running or rushing out and purchasing a snazzy pair of minimalist shoes, consider your level of fitness, reasons for considering the switch, and seek out a complete podiatric exam. Only after thoroughly assessing these three areas should you consider barefoot running or minimalist shoes.

Your level of fitness before you try barefoot or minimalist running

It is important to remember that these training ideas began with elite athletes. These athletes are highly trained, extremely fit, and have a bevy of coaches and other training assistants available to them. Those who have little to no running experience or who are not accustomed to walking or doing other activities barefoot should use caution before making the switch, and proceed extremely slowly in adding such training to their fitness routine. It is also important to be at a healthy weight with good biomechanics of the feet, ankles, and legs.

Reasons for making the switch

Although there may be a number of legitimate reasons to consider barefoot running or using minimalist shoes, it is important to consider your reasons carefully. If you simply want to try out the latest fad, or read an interesting article in your favorite running magazine and want to give it a try, proceed with caution. In order to minimize your risk of injuries, make sure that you are making an informed decision and already have a solid base of running and physical fitness. Runners who are likely to do well with the switch are those who already have a strong running routine and spend time developing and refining their running form.

Have a thorough podiatric examination first

Your podiatrist may be your best resource in deciding if transitioning to barefoot or minimalist running is right for you. A thorough examination will include both a physical exam and an interview about your health and habits. Your podiatrist will assess the biomechanics of your feet, ankles, and legs to determine if they are healthy enough and functioning without issue. Your podiatrist will check for any signs of instability of the feet or ankles. You should discuss your running and fitness habits with your podiatrist, including talking about the types of running surfaces you plan to train on, any past or current injuries, and your overall health.

To find out whether or not barefoot or minimalist running might be a good training option for you, call Kansas City Foot Specialists today at (913) 338-4440 to schedule an appointment. We look forward to seeing you soon.