There are many Houston runners who have made the switch to a minimalist shoe. Whether the Vibram Five Fingers, Nike Free, New Balance Minimus, or countless others, the underlying philosophy is the same. The shoes are designed to promote as close to a natural "barefoot" gait as possible.
When these runners come into my Houston podiatry practice and give me an opportunity to evaluate them, the injury is often due to a mechanical imbalance. For instance, one runner was feeling pain in one limb. As it turned out, he had a leg length discrepancy causing his feet and legs to work differently.
I discussed the best means of controlling his mechanics to prevent a future injury is the use of a custom orthotic. He asked a very direct and very good question:
How will an orthotic work with running in a minimalist shoe with a midfoot strike?
The answer: It won't! A minimalist shoe usually doesn't have the room to accommodate a custom orthotic and the two just don't work well together.
That said, he has been running in minimalist shoes for years prior to the injury. In that case, the injury is not related to the shoes. This is in contrast to an injury that occurs soon after the switch to a minimalist shoe, where the shoe may be more directly related to the injury.
My recommendation for those running successfully in a minimalist shoe is to continue to do so. That said, only 10% of your day is running. A custom orthotic in your casual and work shoes is just as important. This will influence your mechanics during the day and you should even find a positive carry-over effect on your orthotics-free run.
So many runners are worried to see a Houston podiatrist because they are concerned they'll be told to stop running in minimalist shoes, or to stop running altogether. My job is to keep you running. If the shoes are hurting you, whether they be minimalist or conventional, I'll be honest. In most cases there is plenty of room for compromise to keep you running in the shoes you want, but without pain. Call Dr. Andrew Schneider to schedule an appointment to learn how you can run without pain.
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