The Cooper River Bridge Run is right around the corner and we hope you training is going well. We wanted to update our experience with Minimalist shoes and preventing foot injuries before the race. Over the past several years we have seem more patients run with Minimalist shoes. We have seen a good number of our patients suffer from Achilles tendonitis and forefoot issues such as stress fractures, neuromas, and metatarsalgia. If your are considering switching to a minimalist shoe our practice recommends starting slowly first running on a treadmill without an incline. We recommend running every other day and building up your mileage. After a few weeks of adjusting to the minimalist shoe we recommend that you can slowly progress into running outdoors and on hard surfaces then eventually hills.
According to the British Journal of Sports Medicine they maintain that running in minimalist footwear appears to increase the chance of injury. A recent study of 99 runners with either a neutral or mild pronation wore either a neutral shoe, partial minimalist shoe, or full minimalist shoe. The study there was 23 infuries. The majority of injuires were with either the partial or full minimalist shoes. The authors suggested caution when recommending minimalist footwear to runners who are new to running or preparing for a 10 K event.
We recommend if you are a seasoned runner with a good foot structure then gradual transition to barefoot or minimalist shoes would be acceptable. We are most concerned about our patient population that is older than 40 (Achilles loses it's elasticity), over weight, or have had a history of foot injuries. In addition having a lower arch or overpronating when you run would not be the ideal situation to run with a minimalist shoe.