ERIN McCRACKEN / COURIER & PRESSJeff Williams, a minimalist runner, runs along trails at Angel Mounds on May 30.$RETURN$$RETURN$ERIN MCCRACKEN / Scripps newspapersJeff Williams, a minimalist runner, is training for an 100 mile race in Alabama in November and typically logs 45 to 65 miles a week. Williams says minimalist running has helped get rid of some aches and pains he regularly had when he ran with a more cushioned shoe.$RETURN$$RETURN$48-year-old Jeff Williams ran competitively for more than a decade. But after 15 years away from the sport, Williams found difficulties getting back into his groove. “I realized very quickly that something had to change. When I started, my knees were consistently bothering me a lot, said Williams.” Williams then discovered minimalist or barefoot running, in a book he read; and it changed everything.

“I was pretty intrigued by it and decided to try it out,” said Williams, who runs 45 to 65 miles a week in minimalist running shoes. With minimalist running, the runner lands on the front of the foot or the balls of the foot. While with conventional running, a runner usually lands on the heels of the feet.   

Allowing your body time to adjust properly to barefoot running is essential, and part of this preventative care involves talking to a podiatrist like Dr. Zahid Ladha, F.A.C.F.A.S. of Foot First Podiatry. Dr. Ladha can advise you on a running regimen, as well as provide information on techniques of barefoot running to help avoid foot pain, heel pain, and injury.

Barefoot Running

Barefoot Running Impact

-Running without shoes changes the motion of your running
-Running barefoot requires landing be done on the front part of the feet as opposed to the heel

Barefoot Running Advantages

-Running and landing on the front feet reduces the impact on the knees and ankles
-It strengthens muscles in the feet and ankles and the lower legs.
-Balance of the body is improved
-Greater sensory input from the feet to the rest of the body.

Barefoot Running Disadvantages

-No protection while running results in cuts and bruises if the runner lands on something sharp.
-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, contact our office located in New Albany, IN. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle injuries.

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