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New research, performed by Dr. Michael Wilkinson, an expert in exercise physiology, found that when people run barefoot, they instantly change their gait to accommodate for the impact on the feet.  The study followed a group of 18 runners in which they performed a six-minute moderate running task both with shoes and barefoot on separate days.  The runners were videotaped to analyze their gait and had their oxygen uptake measured.  The study showed that the runners on average used less oxygen and showed a reduction in ground contact time as well as a reduction in the length of their stride.

This new research comes as great news to those who want to try out this new running craze, but, as with any new exercise regimen, it is important to take some precautionary steps before beginning. A good place to start would be to talk to a podiatrist, like Dr. Michael Stein of Foot Doctor East Bay. Dr. Stein can provide recommendations for you to maximize your running workout while remaining as injury free as possible. However, even if an injury should occur, Dr. Stein will be able to properly examine and diagnose it, as well as provide you with treatment options.

Barefoot Running

The Impact of Barefoot Running
- Running without shoes changes the motion of your running, as most running is done by landing on the heel of the feet.
- Running barefoot requires a different way of running; the landing is done on the front part of the feet.

The Advantages of Barefoot Running
- When running and landing on the front feet, the impact on the feet and ankle is reduced, this can reduce stress injuries.
- It strengthens muscles in the feet and ankles and the lower legs.
- Balance of the body is improved and there is a greater sensory input from the feet to the rest of the body.

The Drawbacks of Barefoot Running
- No protection while running makes it likely that runners will land on sharp objects and scrapes, bruises and cuts on the feet will result.
- 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 about RA, please feel free to contact one of our offices which are located in San Leandro, Pleasanton and Los Gatos, CA. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

Read the full article on Barefoot Running.

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