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The barefoot debate: can minimalist shoes reduce running-related injuries?

updated

Tags: barefoot, foot, leg, limbs, pain problems, running, exercise, self-treatment, treatment

One article on PainSci cites Rixe 2012: Does barefoot running prevent injuries?

PainSci notes on Rixe 2012:

A summary of the state of barefoot-minimalist running science, much shorter than Lieberman’s early 2012 summary, with the same conclusion: on the one hand, “A growing body of biomechanics research has emerged to support the advantages of ‘barefoot’ running,” but unfortunately, “No clinical studies have been published to substantiate the claims of injury reduction using a ‘minimalist’ style.”

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.

Running has evolved throughout history from a necessary form of locomotion to an athletic and recreational pursuit. During this transition, our barefoot ancestors developed footwear. By the late 1970s, running popularity surged, and footwear manufacturers developed the running shoe. Despite new shoe technology and expert advice, runners still face high injury rates, which have yet to decline. Recently, "minimalist" running, marked by a soft forefoot strike and shorter, quicker strides, has become increasingly popular within the running community. Biomechanical studies have suggested that these features of barefoot-style running may lead to a reduction in injury rates. After conducting more outcomes-based research, minimalist footwear and gait retraining may serve as new methods to reduce injuries within the running population.

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