Comparison of running injuries between shod and barefoot
The following study prospectively compared the incidence and rate of injuries between shod and barefoot (BF) runners. The results indicate that BF running is associated with fewer overall musculoskeletal injuries, but similar injury rates.
Born to Run, the popular novel written Christopher MacDougall, is solely responsible for the current mainstream interest in barefoot running (BF). Proponents of BF suggest that it is more natural and may in fact mitigate injury risk. At present, no prospective studies comparing the injury patterns between BF and shod runners.
201 adult runners (107 barefoot and 94 shod) were followed prospectively over 12 months. Statistically fewer overall, diagnosed, musculoskeletal injuries were noted in the BF group. Nevertheless, this could be attributed to the fact that overall mileage was lower within this group. BF runners sustained a greater number of injuries to the plantar surface of the foot. Furthermore, whilst the BF group experienced a higher number of calf injuries, they underwent fewer injuries to the hip and knee.
Future studies with a larger cohort are required to more accurately assess differences in individual injuries between these two groups.
> From: Altman et al., Br J Sports Med (2015) (Epub ahead of print). All rights reserved to BMJ Publishing Group Ltd. Click here for the Pubmed summary.