Minimalist runners have been shown to have a different gait pattern with lower impact forces than habitually shod runners. Running in minimalist footwear has been promoted as a means of reducing or eliminating running injuries by returning to a more natural gait.
Ten experienced runners, age 21 to 57 (mean, 43) years, were identified with injuries within 1 year of transition from traditional to minimalist running footwear. Patients were interviewed to determine their running history, injury history, transition to minimalist footwear, and their new injury including its treatment and recovery.
Ten patients who ran with traditional footwear ran an average of 25.9 (range, 6 to 45) miles/week for an average of 18.9 (range, 1 to 40) years presented with injuries 2.8 (range 1 to 10) months after switching to minimalist footwear. Their injuries included eight metatarsal stress fractures, a calcaneal stress fracture, and a plantar fascia rupture. All patients had a successful recovery and returned to their previous level of running.
Injuries including stress fractures and plantar fascia rupture have been observed in minimalist runners.
"Together, these studies suggest that early barefoot running may only induce a greater tendency of a NRFSP instead of a complete modification of landing pattern in habitual shod RFSP runners . This may explain the greater incidence of injuries in novice barefoot runners   . "
The Foot 02/2015; 25(2). DOI:10.1016/j.foot.2015.02.001
"As well as having the benefit to running economy similar to that of the minimal shoe, the MS equipped shoe maintains the cushioning benefit of heavier shoes. Indeed, lighter weight, minimal shoes are related to increased risk of injury in runner (Salzler et al. 2012b; Ryan et al. 2013). Specifically, Ryan et al. (Ryan et al. 2013) reported on 99 recreational runner training for a 10 km event. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In recent years there has been an increase in participation in timed running events. With this increase, the motivation for individuals to run their best has motivated the running shoe industry to make design changes to traditional running foot wear in an effort to improve running economy (RE) and decrease running times. One such design change has been to incorporate mechanical springs (MS) into the midsole of the running shoe. Evaluation of this technology has yet to be performed. This study recruited 17 runners (12 male) and had them run at a submaximal steady state speed for 2 bouts of five minutes at a speed of 3.13 m∙sec-1. The order of shoe condition was randomly assigned and the subjects ran one interval in their own running shoe (OS) and one interval in MS shoes. Metabolic data and heart rate data were averaged over the last three of the five minute efforts. No significant difference was found between MS and OS with regards to shoe weight. Running in MS resulted in lower, non-significant values for steady state ventilation and steady state heart rate. Oxygen consumption was significantly lower in MS compared to OS in both absolute (MS: 2.35 ± 0.47 L∙min-1 vs. OS: 2.40 ± 0.473 L∙min-1, P=0.022) and relative (MS: 34.67 ± 4.35 ml∙kg-1∙min-1 vs. OS: 35.34 ± 4.58 ml∙kg-1∙min-1, P=0.033) terms. Running in shoes fitted with MS technology improves running economy over OS and this technology may assist athletes achieve their best running times
Journal of Human Sport and Exercise 01/2014; 9(4):782-789. DOI:10.14198/jhse.2014.94.05#sthash.r0jpLunI.dpuf
"Also, Lieberman et al. (2010) found that modern running shoes with elevated and cushioned heels caused the runner to land on the heel and thereby increased the collision forces at the ground. Lieberman's suggestion that running barefoot might help to avoid injury has also been criticised, and examples of injuries associated with running barefoot have been published (Giuliani et al. 2011; Salzler et al. 2012). However, Lieberman and the barefoot running movement primarily hypothesise that many running injuries derive from poor running technique (Collier 2011; Lieberman 2012; Rixe et al. 2012). "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: JS, & Gouttebarge, V. The optimisation of running technique: what should runners change and how should they accomplish it? J Sport Human Perf 2013;1(3): ABSTRACT Aim: (1) To gather knowledge about interventions (i.e., training programs, running technique methods) aimed to enhance or optimise the running technique in recreational runners by means of reviewing the scientific literature and (2) to identify the barriers and facilitators that are related to learning and applying a natural running technique. Methods: A systematic search of the scientific literature (Medline and SPORTDiscus) was conducted to identify relevant original studies. Subsequently, a qualitative research was conducted focusing on a specific and widely available natural running technique (Chi Running). Information was gathered from recreational runners who followed a Chi Running course by means of interviews and from Chi Running instructors participating in a focus group discussion. Results: Based on 7 original studies identified, step frequency, in combination with other running technique elements (step length and foot strike pattern), the Pose method, and visual feedback about tibial acceleration were found to have a positive effect on ground reaction force, contact time foot-ground, compartment pressures, mechanical power-consumption and self-reported pain. None of the retrieved studies investigated the sustainability of the learned technique aspects. From the interviews and focus group discussion, several barriers in learning and applying a new running technique emerged. The barriers were related to the individual runner (such as a lack of patience), the running technique method itself (such as being too extensive to learn), and the environment (such as adverse reactions from coaches). Conclusion: This study presents technique elements which could be beneficial for runners. Facilitators and barriers in learning and applying a running technique method were explored. This information is valuable in designing evidence-based interventions aimed at optimising running technique in recreational runners.
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