Cushioning Reduces Work Required by Leg Muscles According to Study

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Cushioning Reduces Work Required by Leg Muscles According to Study

Barefoot RunningRunning barefoot and running with modest cushioning is said to yield the same running economy. According to a published piece by Rodger Kram in  Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, shoe cushioning spares the leg muscles just enough to balance out the zero-weight saving  from no shoes.  

The study had 12 subjects in the experiment run barefoot, and later with a Nike phylon midsole foam affixed to the treadmill. Results showed runners’ metabolic power improved on the foam compared to the no-foam. In another test, results showed no difference when runners ran on the treadmill with shoes or barefoot.  “It appears that the positive effects of shoe cushioning counteracted the negative effects of added mass,” said Kram.      

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. Alan Discont of Family Foot & Ankle Care, PC. Dr. Discont 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, please feel free to contact one of our two offices which are located in Sun Lakes or Chandler, AZ. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read the full article on Barefoot Running.