This year, former Guam resident Eddie Vega, has completed 101 marathons while running barefoot in order to raise awareness and funds for young children in the Philippines and other countries walking around barefoot. Due to his efforts, Vega has raised nearly $12,000 that will provide thousands of shoes for children in third world countries. Barefoot running in marathons was not an intentional choice for the 55 year-old, who initially participated in the activity in order to reduce an injury incurred from previous marathons. Although Vega has ran in over 100 marathons, he does not believe in being barefoot all of the time and has experienced criticism from avid believers of the barefoot lifestyle. “I do it to create awareness for 300 million kids with no shoes,” he states.
Barefoot running has its own share of benefits and disadvantages. To learn more about this trend, consider speaking to one of our podiatrists of New England Foot & Ankle Specialists. Our doctors will explain the facts of barefoot running and help you decide if it’s a practice you’d like to take up.
The Impact of Barefoot Running
-Running without shoes changes the motion of your running, as most running is done by landing on the heel of the feet.
-Running barefoot requires a different way of running; the landing is done on the front part of the feet.
The Advantages of Barefoot Running
-When running and landing on the front feet, the impact on the feet and ankle is reduced, this can reduce stress injuries.
-It strengthens muscles in the feet and ankles and the lower legs.
-Balance of the body is improved and there is a greater sensory input from the feet to the rest of the body.
The Drawbacks of Barefoot Running
-No protection while running, makes it likely that runners will land on sharp objects and scrapes, bruises and cuts on the feet will result.
-Blisters may form.
-Possibility of plantar fascia problems.
-Risk of getting Achilles tendonitis.
So what can runners do to make barefoot running safe? It’s best to make a slow transition from running shoes to barefoot running. Once the feet begin to adjust, try walking, then jogging and gradually increasing the distance. Minimalist running shoes may also be an option.
If you have any questions, please contact one of our offices located in Reading, MA. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.
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