Thursday, December 2, 2010

"The Rise Of Barefoot Running"

In the Canadian Medical Association Journal, no less!

"Critics of barefoot running, including many podiatrists, note that there is no scientific evidence that indicates running barefoot is better than running in shoes, and say that even if running barefoot reduces some types of injuries it may cause other types of harm, such as puncture wounds on the soles and stress fractures in the metatarsals.

"Dr. Michael Nirenberg, a podiatrist who practises in Crown Point, Indiana, is not among those critics. Nirenberg has been a runner off and on throughout his life, and has suffered from plantar fasciitis, a painful inflammation of the main ligament in the foot's arch. This led him to conduct research on ways to strengthen the muscles in feet, which in turn led him to become a fan of going barefoot.

"'I started reading about our feet and shoes and supportive shoes. I became intrigued with the idea that once you support the arch of the foot, you don’t use your foot muscles as much,' says Nirenberg, who writes about barefoot running and other topics on his blog (http://www.americaspodiatrist.com/). 'If you start doing barefoot activity, be it running or walking, you start to build up the muscles in your feet.'

"His views aren't common in his profession, which tends to focus on using orthotics to correct foot problems. Orthotics do relieve pain quicker, Nirenberg acknowledges, but he recommends that people with foot problems transition over time to less-supportive footwear, and eventually incorporate some barefoot activity into their lives. As for barefoot running, Nirenberg agrees with the critics that there is no proof of its benefits ― at least, not yet.

"'Right now, there is no proof that running barefoot is better for you, but there is a lot of research that is leaning in that direction,' he says.

Nicely done.  Some of our other friends from the less-enlightened side of the podiatric profession are also present, including Dr. Kirby, who's moved atop the fence, and the idiotic Dr. Payne.