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Dr. Frank Henry- Barefoot Running

Proper Form in Barefoot Running is Important in Preventing Injury

Nov 30, 2022

While barefoot running can do wonders for your body, maintaining proper form is essential in preventing injury during this high intensity activity. Since you are not wearing shoes during a barefoot run, the strain on the Achilles tendon and calves are more extreme and the impact can be nearly seven times harder on the foot if you strike with the heels. Transitioning into barefoot running too quickly can result in problems such as plantar fasciitis. This, along with studies suggesting that barefoot running can deform the heels, can all be prevented with proper form and other changes. Learning how to land mid-foot can help reduce the tension on the heels. In order to change your foot strike, try quieting the sound of your feet on the treadmill by straightening your posture and shortening your stride. For marathon runners, try to switch it up by landing forefoot as a training aid. It is important to avoid overdoing the practice for the sake of your foot health.

Barefoot Running

The Impact of Barefoot Running
-Running without shoes changes the motion of your running, as most running is done by landing on the heel of the feet.
-Running barefoot requires a different way of running; the landing is done on the front part of the feet.

The Advantages of Barefoot Running
-When running and landing on the front feet, the impact on the feet and ankle is reduced, this can reduce stress injuries.
-It strengthens muscles in the feet and ankles and the lower legs.
-Balance of the body is improved and there is a greater sensory input from the feet to the rest of the body.

The Drawbacks of Barefoot Running
-No protection while running, makes it likely that runners will land on sharp objects and scrapes, bruises and cuts on the feet will result.
-Blisters may form.
-Possibility of plantar fascia problems.
-Risk of getting Achilles tendonitis.

So what can runners do to make barefoot running safe? It’s best to make a slow transition from running shoes to barefoot running. Once the feet begin to adjust, try walking, then jogging and gradually increasing the distance. Minimalist running shoes may also be an option.

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