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Running Barefoot Is Dangerous, Study

Update Date: Mar 24, 2015 05:13 PM EDT

Running barefoot is dangerous, according to a new study.

The latest findings are extremely important, as there has been an explosion in barefoot running in recent years, according to researchers.

The study revealed that running barefoot is extremely dangerous for older, more experienced athletes as these runners are significantly more likely to maintain a heel-first running pattern when running without shoes. This running pattern has been linked to significantly more injuries.

"Previous studies have demonstrated that an adolescent runner's foot strike is heavily influenced by their running shoe," lead study author orthopedic surgeon Dr. Scott Mullen, MD, said in a news release. "Young runners quickly adapt to a forefoot strike pattern when running barefoot, whereas a heel strike is normally associated with wearing large-heeled training shoes."

The latest study involved 26 runners who were all age 30 or older with at least 10 years of running experience. Participants were asked to run in a traditional running shoe, and again when barefoot while being recorded by a motion-capture system.

The study revealed that running barefoot resulted in a significant drop in percent heel strike at all running speeds. However, study data revealed that 40 percent of the men and 20 percent of the women maintained consistent strike patterns across all speeds with and without shoes.

"Our study indicates that older runners (age 30 and older) are not able to adapt as quickly to running barefoot," explained Mullen. "The inability to adapt the foot strike to the change in shoe type may put these runners at increased risk of injury. Older runners should be cautious when transitioning to a more minimalist type of shoe."

The findings were presented today at the 2015 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.

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