Minimalist footwear can help some people improve their running form... can "cure" others' injuries... and it can leave some with more aches and pains than they started with. There is no one shoe that is perfect for everyone. Some people can benefit greatly from minimalist footwear, while others are better off sticking with traditional shoes. Some things to consider are weekly mileage, the surface you run on, how biomechanically efficient you are, etc. In any event, it's important to ease your way into running in minimalist footwear, or you'll most definitely wind up in the third category of runners (instead of in the first two). However, even the most cautious of runners can still wind up hurt (although the jury is still out on if what they were wearing on their feet is to blame... I mean, how do you determine if your Achilles hurts because of the sneakers you were wearing when you ran 16x100's, or the fact that you haven't sprinted in 5 years?!).
In any event, I found this article talking about some of the more common injuries related to minimalist footwear. We've already talked about Plantar Fasciitis and Achilles Tendinitis, and Metatarsal Stress Fractures are pretty self-explanatory. This brings us to Sesamoiditis, which is an inflammation of the sesamoid bone (help absorb impact and distribute forces acting on the big toe joint) and surrounding tissue; most people experience pain in the ball of their foot by their big toe. Compartment Syndrome can also present a problem. With this condition, pressure in the leg muscles build, causing tightness, burning, cramping, and fatigue in the lower legs (especially the calf and shin regions), and numbness or swelling can also be present.
So, in conclusion, ease into minimalist running!
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