While there is no “yes or no” type of an answer to this question, there are plenty of things we could be telling you about barefoot running and its effects on your health. Chiropractors are often times asked if shoeless running is good for the spine or joints. So we are here to shed the light on some of the most important aspects related to this matter.

Truth Or Myths?

There are plenty who will argue that people have been walking around barefoot since ancient times – running included. And no one got hurt doing it. So going back to the basics could actually prevent future injuries specific “regular” running and help one get rid of such already existing problems. But let us stop and think for a moment. In reality, there was no asphalt to run on a few thousand years ago, was it?

On the other hand there are quite a few specialty studies that have concluded running barefoot will diminish the structural impact as compared to runners who wear shoes. Such a study was conducted by a human biology Harvard professor. The findings indicated that those runners who are not using any shoes have the tendency to point their toes when landing on the ground, hence shifting the direct impact to the front of middle part of the foot. Normally, the impact is placed on the heels; the changes seem to be helping runners suffer from fewer stress injuries.  

Shoeless Running Simply Causes Different Running Injuries?

The “Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise” journal has published a study related to this topic. Several recreational, but experienced runners participated in a study during which they were asked to run following certain conditions: some while wearing their regular running shoes and others while wearing a special type of barefoot running shoes. The participants were also given different running instructions concerning the mileage. They received MRIs before and after the study ended. None of the participants recorded any injuries or changes in the structure of the tissues of the lower leg. However, more than 50% of the runners wearing the special barefoot shoes tested positive for increased metatarsal and tarsal bone bone-marrow edema. The barefoot runners hence started experiencing pain and soreness and were unable to run the preset number of miles.

The conclusion of the test is that not all individuals who will choose to embrace shoeless running are in fact going to end up suffering from injuries. Extreme caution and attention need to be paid to the barefoot running process, especially to the transitioning period. Calf muscles and feet need to properly adjust to the new running conditions and doing things as slowly as possible should help ease the transition a lot.  

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