Changing gait patterns, not shoes, may help prevent running injuries

Posted on in Industry News, News

runA recent study by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons found that runners may be less prone to injury while running barefoot than while running with expensive running shoes.

The study found that most distance runners who used cushioned running shoes run heel-to-toe or in a rearfoot strike (RFS) pattern. This pattern often leads to bone and soft-tissue injuries, tibial stress fractures, and severe heel pain. Shoes with less cushioning have been suggested to change running patterns so the front or middle of the foot strikes the ground first, thereby reducing load stress on the knee, lower leg, and heel.

“Minimalist shoes may give better feedback to runners and allow them to focus on changing their gait, but not everyone does, and this could lead to more injury,” said Jonathan Roth, MD with Fort Belvoir Community Hospital in Virginia.

Other findings from the study include:

  • Barefoot and minimalist running is not injury-proof and poses the risk for toe fractures, stress fractures, plantar fasciitis, and puncture wounds
  • Runners can change gait patterns in any shoe with appropriate training
  • Barefoot and minimalist running is an emerging phenomenon that requires further investigation of its orthopedic implications to identify true long-term benefits and risks

Click here to read more about the study.