01 Sep Barefoot Running – Safe or Unsafe?
You may have heard that some people run barefoot on trails and even sidewalks. Many people see “barefoot” running as going back to the way our bodies were meant to run and expect fewer injuries and performing better as they run barefoot.
Do you think barefoot running is truly safe?
While there may be some benefits of barefoot running, like strengthening muscles, there are considerable risks with the activity.
Greater risk of puncture
When you are running barefoot, you run the risk of having your foot punctured with a sharp object that may be lying in your path. Even a small puncture in the foot may lead to a serious infection like tetanus.
Barefoot runners are also at a high risk of developing blisters on the soles of the feet that can be protected by wearing shoes. Gradually, calluses may form, but initially, the blisters are painful and prone to infection, if they burst.
Injuries, burns and numbness
Running barefoot can cause injuries, such as stress fractures, ligament injury, and burns from the hot sidewalk or numbness from cold. Numbness can prevent you from noticing serious puncture wounds which may not be felt until after numbness has ceased.
If you are planning on running barefoot, you should know what to look out for, and train properly for it. Running in shoes allows a heel strike, but running barefoot requires a midfoot strike. It may take you some time to master running this away. You can practice on a treadmill first, wear “barefoot” shoes and examine your feet after each run to ensure your feet is well protected.
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