Running Injuries

I thought it was about time that I provided you all with a brief summary of running, injury rates and the advantages of barefoot running.

Running is one of the most popular sports across the world. It is either performed as exercise to keep fit, competitively or as part of other sports such football, basketball etc.

The current prevalence of lower injuries in running ranges from 19-79% depending on which sources you chose to read from.

The most common site of injury is the knee, followed by the shank (i.e. shin, Achilles), foot and thigh. The ankle and hip/pelvis are less commonly injured. (can Gent et al 2007)

Why is there a greater risk of injury running when compared to walking?
Running generates a ground reaction force of 2.5 to 3.5 times the body weight compared to 1.3 to 1.5 in walking. This means that when you are running there is double the impact force acting upon your joints, which needs to be absorbed by the body and you have less time to safely absorb this force compared to when you’re walking.

In a nutshell, what are the proposed advantages of running barefoot?
Improved natural motion of the foot/lower limb.
Encourages a forefoot strike pattern which gives better shock absorption.
Improved sensory feedback and neuromusclar function, therefore greater awareness of foot/ankle position.
Decreased stride length/increased cadence (greater dispersion of shock or decreased load).
It strengthens the muscles in your foot, especially in the arch. A healthy foot is a strong foot, one that pronates less and is less liable to develop a collapsed arch.
It may cost less energy to forefoot strike because you use the natural springs in your foot and calf muscles more to store and release energy. Running barefoot or in minimal footwear (usually lighter than traditional running shoes) means that there is less mass to accelerate at the end of the runner’s leg with each stride.
(Justin Sullivan, Daniel Lieberman, Daniel Howell, Divert et al., 2005; Squadrone and Gallozzi, 2009)

By Sam

BM in Sport and Exercise and BA in International studies (German Major) completed at the University of Technology, Sydney.
Master of Physiotherapy at the University of Sydney.

Interests: I am an exercise enthusiast full stop! I play or have played football, tennis, basketball and dabbled in waterpolo and underwater rugby! Recent sporting interests are cycling and barefoot running! I also love watching all codes of football/rugby.

Physiotherapy: Due to my interests in sport and health I am fascinated in human movement and physiology. In addition to musculoskelatal physiotherapy I’m also interested in neurological (stroke, brain injury and spinal cord injury rehab), and cardiopulmonary (heart and lung function and rehabilitation) physiotherapy:

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