Vibram Five Fingers as an alternative footwear to ‘barefoot’ have been getting a lot of attention, especially from the barefoot/minimalist running community. The anecdotal evidence is accumulating that barefoot running is increasing the injury rate in runners. I have seen predictions and posts that say something like because of ‘barefoot running’ that podiatrists must be ‘shaking in their boots’ at the thought of barefoot running due to all the business they will lose. Well, where are the people that made those claims now? The opposite has happened. Barefoot running is turning into an economic stimulus package for anyone who treats and rehabilitates running injuries. If you do not believe me, just ask them. Here is a typical comment:
"I do not see many runners in my clinic, but lately over half the ones I have seen are barefoot or minimalist runners. Given that my impression is that barefoot runers make up less than 0.01% of runners, and if 50% of the runners I see with an injury are barefoot, then should not alarm bells be going off?" source
and these types of comments:
“We’ve seen a fair amount of injuries from barefoot running already, or from just running in the Vibrams,” says Nathan Koch, PT, Director of Rehabilitation at Endurance Rehab in Phoenix, AZ. Vibrams are the barely-there “foot gloves” that have become popular among barefoot running devotees.Steve Pribut, a Washington, DC podiatrist and one of America’s most respected running injury specialists, says he has experienced a recent influx of barefoot runners at his office as well. And, asked by email whether he could confirm a barefoot running injury trend in his clinical experience, Lewis Maharam, a.k.a “Running Doc,” replied with two words: “Oh, yeah!” source
There is no doubt that some are getting less injuries after taking up barefoot running and there is no doubt that there are some that are getting more injuries.
There is even a rumour going around about a class action law suit against Vibram Five Fingers because of all the injuries that are occurring, but it may be just a rumour as I have seen nothing concrete on this. Certainly some running speciality shops have been asking customers to sign disclaimers to waive legal responsibility when the buy the Vibram Five Fingers.
There was even an insight into the sort of people who buy Vibram Five Fingers - they are being reported as being annoying people by the San Francisco Weekly!
Why are barefoot runners getting so many injuries?
The Barefoot Running Injury Epidemic
Vibram FiveFingers Cause Metatarsal Stress Fractures?
While barefoot running or the Vibram Five fingers is certainly turning out to be not all they are touted as being, there is nothing wrong with barefoot running drills as part of balanced running program. Just don’t believe all the hype and propaganda that is being sold.
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