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Barefoot running is trendy, but not for everyone and not every time. So where do you draw the limits? Listen to recent arguments – there are as many on one side of the issue as the other. So with that in mind accept the fact that there are circumstances where it may be appropriate and other times not.
Zola Pieterse (Budd), one of the worlds’ premiere running athletes, grew up in South Africa running barefoot. Although she continues to run barefoot, it’s on tracks and grass. Because of foreign objects, temperature variants and the miles covered it is not practical for her to train barefoot. She spends too much time on her feet. Even though it contradicts popular belief, she freely admits that most of her training is done in shoes. Be that as it may, she is still an advocate of barefoot running and believes there is nothing wrong with being barefoot in daily life provided safety is not an issue.
People who strongly advocate barefoot running tend to believe that the added cushioning placed in shoes causes runners to alter their stride and that can lead to foot and ankle problems with pain that radiates to knees, hips and lower back. Some people claim that they have resumed running after experiencing pain that sidelined them. Others state that barefoot running re-connects them with the ground allowing them to grow stronger starting in their feet and ankles and then strengthening their entire body.
Runners who are critical of barefoot running claim the benefits gleaned are far outweighed by the inherent dangers of trail debris and stress injuries. Perhaps it’s time to become less of an all or nothing personality type. Possibly give it a try. Start slow, giving your body an opportunity to adjust. Maybe incorporate a short barefoot run into your weekly schedule. You will need to make the determination for yourself. However, do not embark on a barefoot running schedule under the belief that it will resolve existing problems. Make sure any current issues are treated by Dr. Vargas prior to taking on a new program and then listen to your doctor’s suggestions.
Contact Dr. Vargas at (281) 313-0090, to make an appointment for a complete foot and ankle physical, and discuss your barefoot running intent with him. He will be able to offer suggestions and cautions to help keep you on the right track. Place your feet in his hands.
If you have a barefoot running story to relate, please comment below.