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Minimalist Shoe Wearers Self-Report Fewer Injuries than Traditionally Shod Runners
edited September 2012
New US Army survey-based study finds that
"traditionally shod runners were 3.41 times more likely to report
injuries than experienced minimalist shoe wearers (46.7% shod vs 13.7%
Trying to get the full text and reserving further comment until I do.
Having read the lengthier discussion of this on Pete's blog I'm very interested in seeing the full report when it comes out. Although you can always question self-reported survey answers, the overall results seem to fit the trends in other studies I've seen and my own experiment of one.
I feel that it is always assumed that changing your shoe type will change your running form. My strictly personal experience was that i spent 6 months changing how i ran before moving to a minimalist shoe. that is I focused on landing on my mid-foot, upped my cadence and shortened my stride. I am perhaps lucky in that i transitioned easily and without injury. I have been injury free since (1 year) and have run more and more aggressively than ever and now participate in Ultras. I have seen friends change shoes and run right into injury when they did not focus on form. I personnally changed to a minimalist shoe based on the understanding that less shoe will give me more feedback to run efficiently and safety for my body. Right now minimalist shoe and barefoot running is very popular. this can be particularly problematic i feel when long time runners make drastic changes to their footware without much thought to the transition
edited October 2012
I agree. I think there has been too much focus on the type of shoe rather than the stride mechanics. I think of minimalist shoes as just a tool that helps me run with a more natural stride, which I believe to be the real essence of eliminating injuries for me.
I was fortunate in that my stride changed unconsciously the first time I ran in minimalist shoes, and after only a few weeks it began to feel like my natural stride. But I used to be a heavy heel striker and there was just no way I could run like that in such lightly cushioned shoes. I've seen a study (runblogger?) that suggested runners adapt their stride at different rates and some continue heel striking long after switching shoes.
I also think that the focus almost exclusively on heel vs. forefoot strike has also muddied the waters to some degree. I think it's really about overstriding, which usually is accompanied by heel striking, versus the shorter, softer higher cadence "natural" stride, which seems to be most often accompanied by a midfoot or forefoot stride. Some discussions seem to focus only on what point of the shoe makes contact first or the exception cases, which misses the bigger picture.
I think for some people, the shoes will lead to an immediate change, for others a lot of conscious effort to change form is required. There have been a few studies suggesting that about 50% of people will alter foot strike in barefoot-style shoes, the other half keep heel striking. But, my guess is both shorten the stride a bit.
For me, it was the combo of shoe change and conscious form work that did the trick.
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