Warning for 'barefoot' running shoes runners

September 13, 2012 1:29:12 PM PDT
A lot of die hard runners are ditching their traditional sneakers and putting on shoes with really thin soles, the ones that make you feel like you're running barefoot.

But, these trendy shoes are now being linked to a new rise in injuries among runners.

The minimalist sneakers are no longer a part of Joanna Fu's running wardrobe.

She only ran in them a few times and then wore them on a five mile walk.

She quickly found out she did too much, too soon.

"I just woke up the next day and i could barely walk, and I was limping," she said. "It was like a brick had gotten drop on my foot or something," added Fu.

Joanna wound up with two broken bones in her right foot.

Doctors say they're now seeing lots of injuries in runners who wear the so-called "barefoot" shoes-with a thin sole.

"Patients tend to get tendonitis, either of the Achilles Tendon or the back of the calf. Or, plantar fascia, the sole of the foot," said Dr. Alexis Clovin with Mount Sinai Medical Center.

If you land on the heel of your foot when you run, it's called heel striking, you may be more at risk for injuries if you use the minimalist shoes.

It's best to land towards the front of your foot- but that's not always easy.

"With the minimal shoes you are striding with your forefoot or mid-foot. What this does, is that it changes the muscle you are using in your foot," adds Dr. Clovin.

Runner Vincent Dugan swears by his minimalist shoes but he says people need to be foot smart about the sneakers," said Vincent Dugan.

"I would not recommend anyone get them and just go do a ten mile run the next day, put them on, get the feel for them, and take a walk around the block," he said.

Dr. Alexis Colvin says to get used to this unique running style. Barefoot beginners should start out slowly and only run in the sneakers a few times a week.

There are studies underway looking at the science of barefoot running to really try and figure out who can benefit from the shoes, and who may be more at risk for an injury.

Get Eyewitness News Delivered

Facebook | Twitter | Newsletters | Text Alerts