Wednesday, August 17, 2011

"Barefoot Runner Braves Falmouth Road Race", or More Podiatric Baloney

The Falmouth Road Race is one of the most famous races in the United States, if you weren't aware.
So when a guy runs it barefoot, it's news in Massachusetts:
"...On Sunday, White and two other solid-soled souls plan on running the 39th New Balance Falmouth Road Race in their birthday boots.

"White, 47, began running barefoot about a year ago after he read Christopher McDougall's Born to Run, a 2009 book that, in part, brought barefoot running's status from an off-beat activity to a growing movement. "I had stopped pretty much completely for the past 15 or 20 years," said White, who ran track for University of Maine. 
"Although he enjoyed running in his younger days, nagging pains in his back and a knee kept him away from the sport, he said. But hearing McDougall speaking on the radio about his time witnessing Tarahumara Indians in Mexico running miles over rough terrain — a sight that inspired his book — prompted White to attend a conference about barefoot running where he heard Irene Davis speak...."

Pretty cool story.   Unfortunately, it features the Obligatory Dingbat Podiatrist Quote:

"But many in the podiatry field remain skeptical of the phenomenon. 'The literature is showing that there is increased injury — almost an epidemic — within barefoot running,' said Moira McDermott, founder of Lower Cape Podiatry in Brewster and a past president of Podiatric Medical Society. 'If you haven't grown up your whole life in your bare feet ... as an adult, feet need support.'"

This is really a sweet piece of disinfomation from what I'm coming to realize is an amazingly ignorant or dishonest profession.

By "the literature", she must be referring to stuff like this:
"Although there is no evidence that either confirms or refutes improved performance and reduced injuries in barefoot runners, many of the claimed disadvantages to barefoot running are not supported by the literature. Nonetheless, it seems that barefoot running may be an acceptable training method for athletes and coaches who understand and can minimize the risks. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 101(3): 231–246, 2011)"

Yes, that's right, this is from the Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association.  This lady was supposedly a past president of the Podiatric Medical Society.  So she either doesn't actually read "the literature", or she's not up on the latest literature (that article was from the May/June issue), or she's just making it up.  I'm going with the first or the last options, since there's precious little literature on the topic.  If she's not read this, she's likely not read anything.

And this:  "If you haven't grown up your whole life in your bare feet ... as an adult, feet need support." is just baloney.  Provide some evidence, Doctor.  It's a pity you don't have any.  In which case, you should be quiet.

And I put this under my "Diseases of Civilization" category of posts, because doctors like this one are a major cause of the diseases of civilization.

Here's a post-race report.  Podiatric fear-mongering aside:
"Curtis, who entered the race with three other members of the Barefoot Running Meetup Group, finished the 7-mile course in 1:09.21. 
"'My feet felt so good,' Curtis said. 'Running through water would make them cool. (Then) they would be dry again ... It was no problem at all.'

"Curtis said there was actually a fifth barefoot runner in the race, 'but he was so far ahead,' they weren't able to find out who he was."
P.S. From Craig Payne at Podiatry Arena:
"Quote: But many in the podiatry field remain skeptical of the phenomenon. 'The literature is showing that there is increased injury — almost an epidemic — within barefoot running,' said Moira McDermott, founder of Lower Cape Podiatry in Brewster and a past president of Podiatric Medical Society.

"I would love to know what literature that they think actually says that?
"Quote: Originally Posted by Craig Payne: 'what I object to is the misuse, misrepresentation, misquoting and misinterpretation of the science'
"Not a day goes by that I do not hear ANECDOTAL reports from podiatrists and other health professionals working in running injury clinics about the high number of barefoot runners that are getting injured, but that is NOT a scientific report and its certainly not 'literature' , so I wonder what Moria McDermott thinks she is quoting from?

Gee, I'd guess she's might have been reading your site: www.barefootrunningisbad.com

As shown here, and here, it's pretty clearly your site, Payne.

Dr. Payne is unmasked.
But at least he agrees with my interpretation of his colleague.  :)