To complement the MASSAGE Magazine article, “Kick Off Your Shoes,” by Nicholas A. Campitelli, D.P.M., F.A.C.F.A.S., in the March 2013 issue. Article summary: Our feet were masterfully engineered to work best with nothing between them and the ground. As soon as one introduces a shoe that contains a rigid material that pushes up against the arch—combined with a heel—changes occur not only to our feet but the rest of our body.
The focus of this text is to demonstrate that by running with proper form, runners can improve their running and reduce injury. Incorporating a minimalist shoe allows running to become easier as it helps to facilitate a more natural form. So how does this work? Shouldn’t we be protecting our feet and lower extremity joints with a cushioned shoe?
Scientific literature physicians use to base treatment has yet to prove traditional running shoes are preventing injury. In fact, more and more runners are switching to a minimalist shoe and are experiencing relief of an injury or are not getting injured at all. There is no magic to a minimalist shoe. It allows you to run properly without interfering with natural foot motion and form.
Does this concept work for all runners?
Many people hear about barefoot running or minimalist running shoes and think only of elite runners who have normal arches and “run fast.” The reality is, regardless of your size, athletic ability, or speed, you can abandon your thick, heavy, and cushioned running shoes for a more thin and lightweight minimalist shoe. The key is proper form. Running with poor form and improper technique is bad for everyone regardless of what type of shoe you are wearing.
You may not be getting injured, but the possibility exists. This is about learning to run the way our bodies are designed. If you are running in a traditional running shoe and heel striking, you are putting more force to your lower extremities than if you would forefoot strike in a minimalist shoe.
Harvard’s Daniel Lieberman was able to demonstrate this in his popular study that was published in Nature‘s 2010 January edition, titled “Foot strike patterns and collision forces in habitually barefoot versus shod runners.” Studies have demonstrated only 10 percent of the impact forces are being attenuated through the cushioned heel of a traditional running shoe during heel strike. By transitioning to a forefoot or mid-foot strike pattern associated with a minimalist shoe, you can decrease the force occurring to your knees and other joints that would otherwise be occurring in your cushioned running shoes.a
Excerpt from Dr. Nicholas A. Campitelli. Running in a Minimalist Shoe. v1.0. J Squared Publishing, 2012. iBooks. This material may be protected by copyright.
Nicholas A. Campitelli, D.P.M., F.A.C.F.A.S., resides in Akron, Ohio, where he practices in a multispecialty physician group. He overcame a chronic injury to his own foot by learning proper form though barefoot running, and works closely with Vibram USA (www.vibramfivefingers.com) as a medical consultant, giving advice regarding running and functioning in FiveFinger minimalist shoes Read Campitelli’s blog at www.drnicksrunningblog.com, and purchase this book on the iBookstore.