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Body Mass and Weekly Training Distance Influence the Pain and Injuries Experienced by Runners Using Minimalist Shoes

PainSci » bibliography » Fuller et al 2017
Tags: barefoot, bad news, foot, leg, limbs, pain problems, running, exercise, self-treatment, treatment

One article on PainSci cites Fuller 2017: Does barefoot running prevent injuries?

PainSci commentary on Fuller 2017: ?This page is one of thousands in the bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focused on a single scientific paper, and it may provide only just enough context for the summary to make sense. Links to other papers and more general information are provided wherever possible.

A small (61 runners) randomized controlled trial comparing running pain and injury rates in regular running shoes versus minimalist shoes. Despite a nice gradual adaptation period of 26 weeks, these experienced runners developed more pain and injuries in the minimalist shoes: 16 of them got injured, compared to 11 runners in the regular shoe group. “Runners should limit weekly training distance in minimalist shoes to avoid running-related pain.” The study isn’t big enough for firm conclusions, but it adds to the mounting evidence that running in minimalist shoes may actually cause more injuries, rather than preventing them.

~ Paul Ingraham

original abstract Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.

BACKGROUND: Minimalist shoes have been popularized as a safe alternative to conventional running shoes. However, a paucity of research is available investigating the longer-term safety of minimalist shoes.

PURPOSE: To compare running-related pain and injury between minimalist and conventional shoes in trained runners and to investigate interactions between shoe type, body mass, and weekly training distance.

STUDY DESIGN: Randomized clinical trial; Level of evidence, 2.

METHODS: Sixty-one trained, habitual rearfoot footfall runners (mean ± SD: body mass, 74.6 ± 9.3 kg; weekly training distance, 25 ± 14 km) were randomly allocated to either minimalist or conventional shoes. Runners gradually increased the time spent running in their allocated shoes over 26 weeks. Running-related pain intensity was measured weekly by use of 100-mm visual analog scales. Time to first running-related injury was also assessed.

RESULTS: Interactions were found between shoe type and weekly training distance for weekly running-related pain; greater pain was experienced with minimalist shoes ( P < .05), and clinically meaningful increases >10 mm) were noted when the weekly training distance was more than 35 km/wk. Eleven of 30 runners sustained an injury in conventional shoes compared with 16 of 31 runners in minimalist shoes (hazard ratio, 1.64; 95% confidence interval, 0.63-4.27; P = .31). A shoe × body mass interaction was found for time to first running-related injury ( P = .01). For runners using minimalist shoes, relative to runners using conventional shoes, the risk of sustaining an injury became more likely with increasing body mass above 71.4 kg, and the risk was moderately increased (hazard ratio, 2.00; 95% confidence interval, 1.10-3.66; P = .02) for runners using minimalist shoes who had a body mass of 85.7 kg.

CONCLUSIONS: Runners should limit weekly training distance in minimalist shoes to avoid running-related pain. Heavier runners are at greater risk of injury when running in minimalist shoes. Registration: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ACTRN12613000642785).

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