Barefoot Running Tips

By Paul Kramer DC

Barefoot running has become increasingly popular in the last few years, due in large part to the book “Born to Run”.

The author, Christopher McDougall, details his quest to find a way to run without pain. You see, he was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis, a very painful type of tendonitis of the foot.  After he was diagnosed, he saw some of the top foot doctors in the country.  All of them prescribed arch supports for his feet, and recommended he stop running.  These recommendations only made his foot problem worse.

He then started studying the world’s top distance runners and found that many of them run barefoot.  Going against what the top doctors in America told him, he started to give barefoot running a try.  To make a long story short, he now runs 50 mile races without plantar fascitis.

As someone who has made the transition to barefoot running myself, I can tell you that it isn’t an easy thing to do.  It can be painful until you get used to it.  Here are some tips that will make it easier for you:

-I recommend wearing Vibram Five Finger shoes, because they will protect your feet and at the same time allow them to move naturally as you run.

-Start by running on grass, pavement is too tough on your feet early on.

-It will take 2 to 3 months for your feet to toughen up enough to run on pavement.  The bones of the feet de-mineralize and weaken as the result of wearing shoes with arch supports.  It will take a few months for the bones to harden up again.

-Concentrate on standing tall when you run, especially as you get tired.  Good posture is essential when you run barefoot.  If you lean forward too much, your feet will hurt almost immediately.

-During your stride, do not put your foot down until it stops moving forward.  You will avoid pounding your joints and it makes you run faster.

-Push off with your toes in the back of your stride.  You will run faster and feel better.  This sets up a kinetic chain that will actually help straighten your back and fix alignment problems in your body.  This is why so many people feel better after switching to barefoot running.

If you are suffering from plantar fascitis and are looking for a doctor who not only will help the pain, but help you achieve long term health for your feet, call us at 262-293-3790.   You can set up a free no obligation consultation where we can discuss your situation and what it will take to get you back to 100%.