Barefoot running and the options

In a previous blog, we first addressed barefoot running and a few issues to be aware of with the expansion of this ‘new' idea. The protection and padding of your feet were two issues we discussed in one of last month's blogs. True barefoot running should be approached with extreme caution as these two factors can limit or stop your training all together. These obvious problems are eliminated by the use of foot wear such as the Nike Free® and the Vibram Five Fingers®. Both shoe types attempt to blend the support & protection of traditional foot wear with the flexibility & proprioception (feeling/sensing) of barefoot running. By offering protection and minimal support, the idea is that your foot will function more naturally and strengthen themselves in all the right places. The use of this type of footwear has big advantages over no foot wear at all.

There are many people who have found barefoot running or use of the Free® or Five Fingers® to be quite beneficial to their running regime. One should use extreme caution if you are thinking of throwing out your running shoes for a pair of these barefoot styles. As with most changes to your footwear, such as the addition of inserts or orthotics, you should begin to use them slowing. Begin by using them for a short portion of your entire run running (for instance, in the last half mile or so) and if you find this is comfortable slowly increase the distance or amount of time that you wear them. This allows your body time to adapt and help to eliminate any problems that would occur with a quick transition. Before we go, it is important to remember your foot type. Not all shoes work for all people. A visit with Dr. Thomajan at Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists will help you identify your foot type. This will give you a ‘map' of the type of foot wear best suited to your foot, for what activities , and when or how often to use them. Until next time keep your feet happy and health Austin!

Dr. Craig H. Thomajan, DPM, FACFAS, FAENS
Founder and Managing Partner of Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists
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