Thursday, April 9, 2015

Transitioning to Minimalist Shoes Without Injury

Barefoot running sort of came and to some degree went. One of the reasons it dropped off the radar of some people is the perception that it will injure your feet. Well, it can. But I venture to say that in many, if not most cases those injuries were caused by impatient people wanting to be able to do more than their poor confused feet were ready to take on.

Back when shoes like Vibram FiveFingers  appeared on the scene there were books and websites that talked about barefoot running, they cautioned the reader to begin slowly but they really didn't offer a step by step approach for moving from standard running shoes - or walking shoes for that matter - to Minimalist shoes. Now such a book exists and I wholeheartedly recommend it.

Whole Body Barefoot: Transitioning Well to Minimal Footwear by Katy Bowman breaks down the transition to minimal shoes while providing a science based and therefore safe plan to move you from point A to Z.

For those runners out there who just can't wait to toss your shoes and run 26 miles barefoot toes haggling all the way, be forewarned that Katy suggests transitioning the body to walking long before you run. I totally agree with this. It makes sense even while it disappoints our desire to DO IT RIGHT NOW.

I'll give you one example. One of the most universal side effects of barefoot running is sore - sometimes extremely sore calves. This is because of the shoes, right? Or the unaccustomed foot strike, right? Well, actually it's because running shoes are notorious for having raised heels and we are notorious for thinking we're wearing flat shoes when we're actually wearing a slight heel and our calves and the muscles therein have developed around this. Rather than beat them into submission and risk injury why not take the time to actually coax them along. Maybe I'm being silly but it sounds like a good plan to me.

The book will help you do that as will the DVDs I'll review in upcoming posts. I'm mean seriously, if you're going to transition, isn't it worth doing it properly?z

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