Barefoot Runners

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Shin Splints (Read 574 times)

    Been running in VFF's exclusively since last October.  I've had a few tendon issues here and there from overuse and the whole "too much too soon" thing.  But now I'm getting a freaking shin splint!  Never ever had this problem with shoes.   My miles are really low right now, so I can't blame it on overuse.   I'm guessing there's something going on with my form.   Any ideas on how, what, where, to adjust my form and reduce the strain in that area?  

     

      what kind of surface are you running on?

        Lose the shoes.

         

        You're hitting the ground with your feet. If you could feel the ground, you wouldn't do that. Since you can't feel the ground, you're running as if you had cushioning but without the cushion.

         

        Here's a rather cranky article I wrote recently:

        http://therunningbarefoot.com/?p=5575

         

        You don't need to read all the links, they say pretty much the same thing.

         

        Regardless of what footwear decisions you make, focus on running silently. Lift your feet, don't push off. Good luck!

         

        Josh

          I run on various surfaces, but mostly just on the streets and sidewalks around my house. 

           

          Ditch the vff's huh?  I would, I really would.  I have ran barefoot a few times and it does feel good.  My big issue is I like to have girl feet. Not nasty, calloused, rough heel, dry feet.  In the summer, just walking around with flip flops turn my heels into a desert!   

           

          Yesterday on my run, I concentrated on how my feet hit the ground.  I really don't see where the problem lies and why I'm getting this injury.  I strike completely mid foot and it's a pretty darn quite strike too.   I always thought shin splints were caused by heel striking and I know I don't do that. 

           

          Oh well, thanks for the input.

           

            yeah i dont get how you are having shin splints, when you are barefoot around the house are you heelstriking?

             

            walking and running around barefoot on the pavement has made most of my callouses disappear and i dont get new ones either. my feet are actually quite elegant!


            under a rock

              I haven't done much barefoot, only up to one mile at a time, but I can say that my feet have never looked so good! No more trying to scrub off dead skin during showers, my callouses are almost gone, and I don't have cracked skin. I would think sweating in shoes then having your skin become dry would create conditions for cracking, your feet won't get all sweaty and gross when they are free to breath.

               

              I just got a pair of VFF Bikilas and I've only run in them once. I like the feel of barefoot better. I'll save the VFF for extreme conditions. The one time I wore them it allowed me to do too much at too fast a speed leaving my calves sore. Barefoot I would have felt when to stop sooner.

               Goals: 1)Get my IT Band to cooperate 2) Run lots of trails. 3) Get my back to cooperate.

              RunrGreg


              @RunrGreg

                I also experienced the beginning of shin splints while running in VFFs.  Apparently the VFFs were depriving me of enough feedback that I was doing something wrong in them without realizing it.

                 

                Rather than continue to confuse my form by switching among VFFs, bare feet and conventional shoes, I have decided to ditch all footwear for the remainder of the summer.  By then, my form should have improved enough that I can attempt to wear the VFFs again -- assuming I even want to.

                 

                As for callouses, etc., my barefoot mileage isn't really significant yet, but I can report that callouses I've had forever from running in shoes are starting to soften now that my feet have nothing to rub against.

                  I run on various surfaces, but mostly just on the streets and sidewalks around my house. 

                   

                  Ditch the vff's huh?  I would, I really would.  I have ran barefoot a few times and it does feel good.  My big issue is I like to have girl feet. Not nasty, calloused, rough heel, dry feet.

                   

                   

                  Here are some girly feet:

                  http://barefoot-angieb.blogspot.com/2010/05/ive-got-blues-rock-your-socks-race.html

                   

                  I'm a dude, but here's one of my feet after a 10-miler:

                  http://www.barefootjosh.com/wp-content/uploads/IMG_8689.JPG

                  (after cleaning, of course)

                   

                  Before making assumptions, do a little homework and learn about what you are doing. Barefooters tend to be very proud of our feet, and with good reason: they look strong and healthy. There are a lot of pictures out there of barefoot runner feet, and with a few exceptions (photos of injuries, etc), the feet look great. Not nasty, calloused, rough, or dry.

                   

                  VFFs on the other hand tear my feet up. I still have a scab from a long run on a rocky trail almost a month ago caused by abrasions from the vffs. Barefoot, I get the occasional pin-point bruise, but that's it. OK, one more; here's one of my feet after running the Blue Ridge Marathon (over 6000ft of elevation change):

                  http://www.barefootjosh.com/wp-content/uploads/IMG_90491.jpg

                   

                  The only reason it looks a little dirty is because I just came back from walking the dogs in my grubby sandals (I was wearing the sandals, not the dogs).

                   

                  But if you don't want to, you don't want to. It would still be in your best interest to investigate what it is barefoot runners do to maintain our feet and bodies.

                      

                     

                    Before making assumptions, do a little homework and learn about what you are doing. Barefooters tend to be very proud of our feet, and with good reason: they look strong and healthy. There are a lot of pictures out there of barefoot runner feet, and with a few exceptions (photos of injuries, etc), the feet look great. Not nasty, calloused, rough, or dry.

                     

                    But if you don't want to, you don't want to. It would still be in your best interest to investigate what it is barefoot runners do to maintain our feet and bodies.

                     

                    It sounds like you took my comments personally.  I have done plenty of homework, my dh runs barefoot quite a bit.  I'm barefoot most of the summer, except on the scorching hot pavement.  The more I walk around barefoot outside the worst my feet get.  Maybe I'm just one of those people who have really dry feet.    I have ran barefoot a few times.  I does hurt, and I know I'll get used to it, but I hate stepping on those small pebbles or avoiding glass.  Seems like people just toss glass randomly around here.  

                     

                    Anyway, I'm going to do a few short barefoot runs on and try and figure out what I'm doing that's causing this problem.  Thanks for the input.

                      Well, my feet are very pretty . For anyone to suggest they're gnarly and gross does sting a bit, I confess.

                       

                      But by homework I mean research on the internet. And maybe you have, but just about every barefooter who has a blog/website out there has photo albums of nothing but their feet, and their feet almost always look great even after doing crazy things like running two marathons in two days. So when someone says a barefooter's foot should look callused or whatever, that makes me think they've never been to anyone's blog, which means they haven't bothered to google "running barefoot."

                       

                      If there's a lot of glass in your neighborhood, I totally understand wanting some protection. But the price of that protection is not being able to feel the ground, which means you don't know how hard you're hitting it. To compensate, I'd recommend being barefoot as much as you possibly can, and really pay attention to being as smooth and gentle as possible.

                       

                      Even though I went pretty much cold turkey, I see no reason why you would have to. Incorporating some barefoot running into your routine, which it sounds like you're doing, should translate quite nicely to your "in vffs" form.

                       

                      Report back with observations from your experiment. I'll be more than happy to help out in my cranky way.

                        So I ran about 1.5 miles of my 4 mile run this morning barefoot.  I think I got some pretty good feedback.  The second I took the shoes off, I realized I was actually hitting my heels.  I had to shorten my stride and increase my cadence a lot.  The last half mile, I put my vff's back on, and it felt like I was running in cushions. 

                         

                         It hurt a lot on the asphalt, but once I got back on the concrete sidewalk, it felt great.   My feet are a little tingly right now.  

                         

                          Cool! 1.5 miles is actually quite a lot, especially if the asphalt is rough. It'll get easier, and you'll be running on the rough stuff on purpose.

                           

                          Careful on the cement and other smoother surfaces like new asphalt - it's easy to blister. Without any grip from the rougher stuff, you can twist and push off a bit with your feet. Make sure you avoid all friction between your soles and the ground.

                           

                          Did you have fun?


                          under a rock

                            Careful on the cement and other smoother surfaces like new asphalt - it's easy to blister. Without any grip from the rougher stuff, you can twist and push off a bit with your feet.  

                             I'm so glad you said this! I have been wondering if that was the case. We have one street that is really smooth and I was wondering if it was what was making me blister so easily. I've started being extra careful with my form and really making sure I'm not pushing off. It's like running on very fine sand paper, doesn't hurt until it's too late. I noticed that the rougher streets don't make my skin feel so raw, it's just the feel of stepping on the larger chunks that is bothersome.

                             Goals: 1)Get my IT Band to cooperate 2) Run lots of trails. 3) Get my back to cooperate.

                            RunrGreg


                            @RunrGreg


                               Careful on the cement and other smoother surfaces like new asphalt - it's easy to blister. Without any grip from the rougher stuff, you can twist and push off a bit with your feet. Make sure you avoid all friction between your soles and the ground.

                               

                              It seems counterintuitive that a smoother surface would cause blisters, but now I see why.  On a smooth surface, you can twist your toes on lift off -- something you can't get away with on really rough asphalt.

                               

                              On my short barefoot runs, I've been going through some patches with rough asphalt.  It hurts a little, but it also disciplines my form.  Though I'm always relieved to get back to the smooth concrete sidewalk, it always feels "slippery".  I thought that was weird, but you just confirmed that I'm not imagining things.

                                Yeah, don't avoid smooth surfaces. Just do your best to mix it up. Once you get your landing so that the rough stuff doesn't hurt, just run the same way on the smooth stuff and you'll be fine.

                                 

                                Josh

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