Monday, January 4, 2010

Running Shoes are still bad!

I've had stuff up before on the damaging effects of running shoes and the benefits of being barefoot or at least in minimal shoes that let your feet function freely as they were designed to do.

Here is another interesting one to consider:

The Effect of Running Shoes on Lower Extremity Joint Torques (the full text is available)
Increased joint torques at the hip, knee, and ankle were observed with running shoes compared with running barefoot. Disproportionately large increases were observed in the hip internal rotation torque and in the knee flexion and knee varus torques. An average 54% increase in the hip internal rotation torque, a 36% increase in knee flexion torque, and a 38% increase in knee varus torque were measured when running in running shoes compared with barefoot.

There is a good commentary on this here: Running shoes may cause damage to knees, hips and ankles

These findings confirm that while the typical construction of modern-day running shoes provides good support and protection of the foot itself, one negative effect is the increased stress on each of the 3 lower extremity joints. These increases are likely caused in large part by an elevated heel and increased material under the medial arch, both characteristic of today's running shoes.

Writing in the article, lead author D. Casey Kerrigan, MD, JKM Technologies LLC, Charlottesville, VA, and co-investigators state, "Remarkably, the effect of running shoes on knee joint torques during running (36%-38% increase) that the authors observed here is even greater than the effect that was reported earlier of high-heeled shoes during walking (20%-26% increase). Considering that lower extremity joint loading is of a significantly greater magnitude during running than is experienced during walking, the current findings indeed represent substantial biomechanical changes." Dr. Kerrigan concludes, "Reducing joint torques with footwear completely to that of barefoot running, while providing meaningful footwear functions, especially compliance, should be the goal of new footwear designs."

Amazing that running shoes are worse than high heels. Also it sounds like he needs to look at some Vibram Five fingers!

Hat tip to Mark Sisson for the video who was nice enough to give me some link love today.


Haggus said...

Running on a day like today where I live will give you 3rd degree frostbitten feet in a matter of a few minutes. So while I can see some benefits of running barefoot on the beach in some sunny locale, if only not have sand become between you and your sneakers, it's impractical where I live except for the few hours each year that pass as summer.

Of course, if everyone does there part and make the so-called 'global warming' a reality, I look forward to running on my bare feet at a near beach in my not-so-distant golden years.

Anonymous said...

I live on the north coast in Northern Ireland and I am using my VFF Sprints on the beach in this weather. I'm out for no longer than 40 mins at a time but Feet are quite warm.
Give it a go!!!

Steven Low said...

Great stuff.

Gonna incorporate this into the shoes, sitting, and lower body dysfunction article.

Hope all of you guys that read it found it interesting and informative.

mc said...

Hi Chris,

thanks for the links
As promised, the follow up article:

running shoes as single factor thinking


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vibram said...

barefoot running is hard if you imagine but it has a good part on foot health too...running with shoes is also nice but it is depend on the shoes you wear...

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Viagra said...

What a funny video I was watching it because I thought it would be referred to the topic, but that man was running because he had law problems.

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