Barefoot Running And Chiropractic

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One of the most up and coming trends among athletes is barefoot running. This running style can be achieved by either kicking your shoes to the curb all together, or by wearing minimalist footwear such as Vibram Five Fingers, Nike Free, or Merrell Barefoot. Many other footwear manufacturers are jumping onto the minimalist running train with plans to provide other models in order to compete with the barefoot running movement.
The barefoot running movement began fairly recently, as scientists and avid runners are taking a second look into the benefits of running shoes. The running shoe is fairly new, in its modern form, and was created around the 1970s. Before the modern running shoe was created, shoes were used to protect feet from cuts, bruising, and other discomforts of traveling by foot.
Barefoot running and minimalist running shoes take away the traditional support that we have grown accustomed to in the modern running shoe. While minimalist shoes do provide protection from debris, they do not protect against other injuries that might come from poor form or tricky terrain. For this reason, if you do choose to switch over to a minimalist shoe, it is wise to do so slowly. Walk around in your minimalist shoes for a week or two. It is important to build up the muscles in the foot and leg that you have not used while in regular running shoes. Doing this first will help prevent most injuries with minimalist shoes.
It is not necessarily the modern running shoe that is causing injuries that the barefoot running movement is so strongly exposing. Bad knees and back injuries have been reportedly relieved by switching to barefoot or minimalist running. The magic key to the success of preventing and turning these injuries around is not the shoes, or lack there of, but the change in running form. In the chiropractic world, we see that many people with bad backs suffer from poor form, or posture. Running with poor form will only create more problems in the future for your spinal health. Minimalist shoes and barefoot running force the runner to correct their posture and form. The correction happens when a runner focuses their stride on a different footstrike, typically on the mid to forefoot. Traditional shoes, where the majority of the padding is in the heel of the shoe, promote a heel strike for each strike taken. The heel strike, while it does not seem overwhelmingly uncomfortable, sends detrimental force up your legs and through your spine.
Before dumping your running shoes for a new fad, you she see a running specialist and your chiropractor. A running specialist will be able to help you correct your running form and heel strike associated with the modern day running shoe. Your chiropractor will be able to help you correct your posture and analyze and diagnose pain associated with poor running form. Chiropractors around the country feel different about barefoot running. Without solid research supporting barefoot or minimalist running, we cannot recommend that you make the switch. At this point, focus on protecting your feet with proper footwear and correcting your form.
Have you seen anyone running barefoot or with minimalist shoes in Woodstock, GA? What do you think about the barefoot running movement?