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The Barefoot Running Debate Continues

  • By Duncan Larkin
  • Published Nov. 18, 2010
  • Updated Feb. 19, 2013 at 8:47 AM UTC

It seems like nearly everyone has an opinion on this subject.

Is barefoot running good for you? It’s the question that continues to generate controversy in the running world.

Chris Harmon, a self-described holistic health educator from Vista, California says yes. “If you put too much support on the foot, the muscles and tendons will atrophy,” said Harmon, a former competitive runner who has devoted his career to teaching others how to achieve their athletic goals and relieve pain caused by sports-related repetitive-use injuries. “The only reason you should wear a shoe is for protection from punctures.”

But not everyone buys it.

Dr. Gregory Clark, head of podiatry at Scripps Clinic Medical Group in Rancho Bernardo, concedes that the conceptual advantages of barefoot running may have some valid benefits for elite runners who are in tune with their bodies and able to alter their gait and running style. But Clark cautioned the average or beginning runner that the laundry list of potential injuries is extensive, ranging from stress fractures to skin lacerations and infections.

“The foot, which is the body’s primary shock absorber, is an absolutely amazing anatomic structure,” Clark said. “Unfortunately, the majority of people are not in good enough physical condition or have not trained appropriately to take advantage of these things.”

For More: North County Times

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Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin is the news editor at Competitor.com and a freelance journalist who’s been covering the sport of running for over five years. He’s run 2:32 in the marathon and won the Himalayan 100-Mile Stage Race in 2007. His first running book, RUN SIMPLE, was released last July.

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