Can Minimalist Running Shoes Cause Injury? | Milwaukee Foot & Ankle Specialists

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by Dr. Brant McCartan

Can running in minimalist shoes cause injuries? Everyone has noticed the trend of minimalist shoes – whether you think they are cool or creepy, can they hurt you? A recent study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine compared a neutral shoe, a partial minimalist shoe, and a full minimalist shoe. The authors of the study stated that the runners in the partial minimalist shoes had the most injuries, and those wearing the full minimalist shoe had more shin and calf pain than the others. The runners in the neutral shoes still had injuries – but at 1/3 the rate of those in the partial minimalist shoes.

Problems that can occur from wearing partial or totally minimalist running shoes include:

  • calf and achillies tendon problems
  • stress fractures
  • neuromas
  • capsulitis
  • bursitis
  • sesmoiditis
  • midfoot issues due to excessive pronation

If you want to try running in partial or totally minimalist shoes, it is advised that you start slowly by running on a treadmill or another soft surface. Slowly build up your endurance by alternating the minimalist shoes with neutral shoes. You can also try doing your warm ups and first five minutes of slower running in the minimalist shoes before switching. Minimalist shoes are not advised overall for anyone with calf, achillies, or metatarsal (ball of foot) pain or problems.

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