Barefoot running has emerged as a fitness trend in recent years. Some people claim that running barefoot has benefits ranging from a decrease in foot pain to improved performance with less energy used. However, if you’ve ever visited a foot doctor Boca Raton or anywhere else, you’ve likely been told that you need to wear comfortable and supportive shoes while running.
While many people do run barefoot on treadmills and indoor tracks without complication, some risks do exist. If you want to avoid injury and protect the health of your feet and ankles, you’ll need to know about the downsides of barefoot running.
Here are the most serious risks of barefoot running, explained by your foot doctor Boca Raton.
1: Barefoot Running Could Damage Your Foot Pad
As you age, the protective layers of tissue in the balls and heels of your feet will degrade. This tissue helps to cushion bones from severe impact while evenly distributing weight across both feet. If you run barefoot, you could damage fat pads and hasten a condition known as fat pat atrophy.
If you already suffer from some atrophy (you may not even know it), running barefoot could make the condition more severe or lead to an injury.
2: You Could Sustain Cuts or Abrasions to Your Feet
Shoes provide more than just support. They also protect your feet from cuts and abrasions. Running barefoot on a treadmill is dangerous and not recommended by your foot doctor Boca Raton. Toes and skin could be caught between the moving surface and a stationary part, causing an abrasion, cut, or another form of damage.
Running indoors, such as in a gymnasium, could expose you to the risk of injury from unseen objects on the ground.
If you suffer from diabetes or any condition that interferes with healing, even small cuts and abrasions could become major problems.
3: Your Ankle Could Roll
If you suffer from ankle instability or any structural abnormalities, you’ll be more likely to roll your ankle when running barefoot. This could lead to a sprain or rupture, which would be incredibly painful while also taking you out of action for several weeks.
4: Blisters Will Likely Form
Blisters caused by friction could form when running barefoot. These blisters could turn to calluses or other injuries requiring treatment from your foot doctor Boca Raton.
5: Your Risk of Stress Fractures Will Increase
Stress fractures develop over time. If you are consistently subjecting your feet and ankles to high impact barefoot running, fractures are more likely to occur. Treating fractures can be complex, depending on the nature of the injury. At the very least, you’ll need a diagnosis, imaging, and a treatment plan from your foot doctor Boca Raton. If you want to avoid the downtime and the expense of stress fractures, it’s best to avoid barefoot running and stick to comfortable training shoes that offer support and cushioning.
Is It Worth Running Barefoot?
For most people, running barefoot isn’t the best option for regular exercise. There are too many risks involved, and these become more complex if you are overweight, have diabetes, or have abnormalities with your foot and ankle structure.
If you are dead set on running barefoot, it’s worth talking to your foot doctor Boca Raton first. At the Foot, Ankle & Leg Vein Center, you can get a complete consultation and examination to determine if barefoot running is safe for you. Dr. Jason Gold is a highly talented podiatrist with a history in sports medicine. He and the other experienced podiatrists can make evidence-based recommendations to keep you healthy and active.
Never take the health of your feet and ankles for granted. If you are suffering from pain, discomfort, or if you are planning on making a major change to your exercise routine, talk to your foot doctor Boca Raton for expert advice and complete peace of mind.