LER: Foot Health – October 2015
From the editor – Survey says: Minimalist risks persist
A survey isn’t the most rigorous of scientific methodologies, but survey-based studies can provide the kind of real-world perspective that’s missing from research done in a controlled laboratory environment. And, when biomechanists are as divided on a topic as they are on minimalist running shoes, a fresh perspective can be a very good thing.
One such recent study, which surveyed 566 Chicago-based runners about their experience with minimally shod running (see “Survey finds 31% of runners have tried minimalist footwear,” page 9), revealed a number of clinically useful findings.
First, despite signs of a backlash in recent years amid false advertising claims and scientific skepticism, minimalist running shoes have not gone away. Nearly one third of runners surveyed said they had tried minimalist shoes, and two thirds of those runners were still using them; another 25% of survey respondents said they hadn’t yet tried minimalist shoes but were interested in doing so. And if these runners are still interested in minimalist shoes, your patients probably are too.
Of even greater concern, the survey found that only one third of the minimalist shoe users transitioned gradually to the new shoes–something that even the most avid minimalist shoe advocates say is essential to avoid injury. And fewer than half of the minimalist shoe users had consciously focused on changing their foot strike pattern when switching shoes, even though a forefoot strike pattern to reduce impacts and loading rates is one of the stated goals of both barefoot and minimally shod running.
So, runners are still interested in minimalist running, but many of them are unlikely to do it safely. These findings are valuable to clinicians, both for treating the injuries that result and for educating runners who haven’t yet made the switch. And they’re things we would never have learned in a laboratory.
By Jordana Bieze Foster
Custom insoles have greatest effect – A study of patients with chronic ankle instability (CAI) suggests the onset of knee and ankle muscle activity occurs significantly earlier when shoes and orthoses are worn than when the patients are barefoot.
By John C. Hayes
Some report more pain, some less – A significant percentage of avid runners have tried running in minimalist shoes, according to a recent survey-based study in which runners reported both positive and negative responses to making the switch in terms of pain and injury.
By Chris Klingenberg
Collaborative staff provides stable foothold for growing company – At Althea’s Footwear Solutions in Everett, WA, teamwork is key to building loyal customers and an expanding company.
By Catherine M. Koetters
Like most podiatrists and podiatric surgeons, Tatiana Wellens-Bruschayt, DPM, and Maria Jaramillo-Dolan, DPM, of the Central Florida Foot and Ankle Center in Winter Haven spend a lot of time counseling patients with diabetes on proper foot care.
By Nancy Shohet West | Photos by Denise Budde
The footwear industry is teeming with alternatives to traditional shoelaces—including Velcro, no-tie elastic systems, and clutch reel technology—that may offer advantages for certain individuals. But for many people, experts say, laces will work just as well.
By Shalmali Pal
Research is starting to reveal that early weightbearing, physical therapy, or both after hallux valgus surgery is not as risky as some practitioners once thought, and such new postoperative protocols appear to be associated with improved outcomes.
By Barbara Boughton
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