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Running shoes considered harmful?

  1. Jan 28, 2010 #1
    http://www.scientificamerican.com/blog/post.cfm?id=running-barefoot-is-better-research-2010-01-27

    I haven't read the actual article (don't have access) but I find some of the claims a bit dubious. For one, they say that a heel-strike could lead to more injuries, but only because it is painful to strike heel-first when not wearing shoes. Obviously, it's comfortable enough to heel strike when wearing shoes, so perhaps with shoes it isn't damaging.

    This is also interesting because the graphs they show in the video don't make that clear (there's never even a side by side comparison). Sure, there's a sharp spike in force when the heel hits, but why not be clear on what is causing the damage? Does a large change in force (jerk) cause injuries for some reason? All their explanations just seem wishy-washy to me.

    On a slightly related note, I run more toe-to-heel but I wear running shoes. Wonder what this study means for me?
     
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  3. Jan 28, 2010 #2

    f95toli

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    I assume this refers to the paper that was published in Nature today?
    If so, try to get access somehow (library?)and read the perspective/comment that was published at the same time. That should answer some of your questions.
     
  4. Jan 28, 2010 #3

    Moonbear

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    I'll definitely have to see the article itself to understand that statement, because normal gait involves heel strike, not fore-foot strike, so I can't even understand HOW you would run that way and not fall flat on your face.
     
  5. Jan 28, 2010 #4

    f95toli

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    I only had a quick look at the perspective at work this morning, but the point is -as far as I understand- that the running style of long distance runners who are used to running barefoot (the study was largely done in Africa) is quite different from what we consider "normal" gait, basically striking ground with the middle/fore foot and not the heal.
     
  6. Jan 28, 2010 #5

    Dembadon

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    After a bit of experimenting, I've managed to do it without falling on my face; however, I am also pretty sure I did not look like someone who was "running." :rofl:
     
  7. Jan 28, 2010 #6

    Dembadon

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    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=<object width="560" height="340"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/XrOgDCZ4GUo&hl=en_US&fs=1&"></param><param [Broken] name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/XrOgDCZ4GUo&hl=en_US&fs=1&" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="560" height="340"></embed></object>

    Just found this.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  8. Jan 28, 2010 #7
    Normal gait is during a walking pace. When you run it changes so that your foot changes how it impacts the surface. You should be hitting the surface with your forefront, not your heel.

    You learn this if you do running of any kind, you can even go test it yourself go running outside with no shoes on your body automatically wants to hit the forefoot first... Running with your heel hitting first is inefficient and makes you more prone to injury.

    Basically you want your foot to hit the ground nearly flat just a bit more towards the front of your foot. When you bring your foot back you went it to go up to your butt and you want your knees to be bent slightly. Normally when you see people running they hardly bring their foot back and they are running with their heel smashing into the ground and their leg is close to perfectly straight.

    However I do not see how this is effected by wearing running shoes, wearing running shoes you STILL train to run properly the 'natural' way...

    EDIT: Wow nice video Dembadon, perfectly explained and great that it shows incorrect vs correct method...
     
  9. Jan 28, 2010 #8

    Moonbear

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    Dembadon, I notice in that video that it's "before instruction" and "after instruction." Y'know, if you need instruction, it's probably not natural running. And, I'm also wondering, "so what?" about whether there is more force on the heel during a heel strike. There is also a LOT of fat padding the heel precisely to absorb such impact (a cm or more, even on a lean individual), and not so much further forward on the foot.

    Yes, the heel takes a lot of impact, but it develops in a way that also absorbs a lot of that impact.
     
  10. Jan 28, 2010 #9
    It's about muscle usage in your legs as well and when you run on your forefoot the impact is made less harsh on your foot... not hard to understand at all.

    As well it IS the natural way to run for endurance. Walking your heal hits and you roll forward, endurance running you hit with your forefoot and then the rest of your foot contacts, sprinting you use only your forefoot because you are only concentrating on propulsion not on cushioning your body so much.

    For endurance running you want to absorb the impact and return energy... this is how we have evolved, to run go out and try it running without shoes on for a longer period of time... like in a jog.
    EDIT: found this video on youtube that explains better what I'm talking about(just ignore the parts about the shoes that's not important just the various gaits are.)
    2OE1OPzBc04&NR=1[/youtube]
     
  11. Jan 28, 2010 #10

    Dembadon

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    I agree with Moonbear; I was never taught how to run, yet when I run, my heel hits the ground first. Wouldn't this then indicate that this is what comes naturally? If you need to be taught something then it's not coming naturally for whatever reason.
     
  12. Jan 28, 2010 #11
    I'm sure you've been wearing shoes your entire life so how do you even feel like you can make a claim of what is natural?

    Go try running outside without any shoes or socks on for 30 minutes hitting your heel first to the ground. I gurantee you that you will understand what's natural vs. what is unnatural (wearing shoes).

    As well it's not that you need to be taught something at all. It's what is NATURAL vs. what is UNNATURAL. Just because you CAN run heel impacting first because the extra cushion provided by your shoe does not make it natural at all. It's a very inefficient way of running and makes you prone to injuries, if you think that humans have evolved for millions of years and developed an injury prone way to run (when it was VERY important to early humans to be able to run...) then that's great for you.
     
  13. Jan 28, 2010 #12

    Moonbear

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  14. Jan 28, 2010 #13
    Wrong. Forefoot running has been more popular RECENTLY because of all the injuries that go along with running. Which USED to be heel impact running.

    I bet you 100$ right now that you can not run for more than 10 minutes barefoot comfortably on a hard surface (such as would be in African terrain). Yes early humans did have to run like this in order to hunt, maybe you should do a bit more research into this before commenting further?

    As well, about the muscles, that has to do with EFFICIENCY. I assume you have no training in running correct? So how can you make a comparison of efficiency between heel impact running and forefoot impact running??? There have been plenty of studies done on this and if you think you can contradict it all because you ran for 10 seconds in your room barefoot than by all means go ahead.
     
  15. Jan 28, 2010 #14

    f95toli

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    Remember that we humans are extremely good endurance runners. There are plenty of animals that are faster, stronger etc than us, but when it comes to long distance running we are actually the best animal on the planet, even a human with "average" genes can learn to run for many hours nonstop; at least as long as we get enough water.

    Hence, our "natural" barefoot gait is obviously quite good.
     
  16. Jan 28, 2010 #15

    Moonbear

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    The point is that WHY would you EVER need to run more than 10 minutes, except under totally artificial circumstances? Are you not understanding that the heel is PADDED?
     
  17. Jan 28, 2010 #16
  18. Jan 28, 2010 #17

    f95toli

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    Hunting. Outrunning prey is still one of the best way to hunt on the savanna when hunting with spears or primitive bows(or even no weapons at all).
    This "technique" is still used by some tribes in Africa, and the hunters that do this are VERY good runners; they can easily run for up to 8 hours.
    It is very likely that this is the first type of "proper" hunting (as opposed to scavenging) that we ever did, which is why we evolved into such good endurance runners (as I stated above: We can outrun ALL other animals over long distances, hardly an "evolutionary accident").
     
  19. Jan 28, 2010 #18
    Exactly, 'sprinting' or using sheer strength etc. was a method used by all the other animals, still is. Problem being, the other animals are much faster and stronger than humans are. So what do we do to compensate? We chase them down non-stop until they no longer can go on, then we collect our prize. As mentioned this is still a method of hunting used all over Africa. When the animal can no longer go on it will actually just lay down and not fight back at all. Sometimes the animals even die from their efforts...

    Humans evolved away from the 'power' methods towards more endurance and it has definitely worked (we do own the entire planet now right?)
     
  20. Jan 28, 2010 #19
    I'll probably try when I get some spare time, but I'm fairly certain my school does not subscribe to Nature so I'd have to try to get it through interlibrary loan.

    Most runners run heel to toe (according to the article) so if anything heel to toe running is causing those injuries. It seems like striking with the forefoot would stretch out the impact time somewhat, which might lead to the lower forces that they mentioned. Also, with your calf muscle flexed the energy from the impact can partially go into elastic potential in your calf muscle and perhaps more naturally into other large leg muscles as well.

    Yes, this is brought up in the link I posted which suggests that humans would simply outlast their prey.
     
  21. Jan 28, 2010 #20

    Evo

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    Horses.
     
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