Relationships Among Self-reported Shoe Type, Footstrike Pattern, and Injury Incidence is the title of a recent study from Goss and Gross in the Doctoral Program in Physical Therapy at the US Army-Baylor University.
2,509 runners completed an anonymous online survey. These people were asked about their choices in footwear, their footstrike, past injuries, and their running habits. 1,605 of the runners were excluded from the questionnaire due to incomplete data or if they very recently have modified their footstrike.
Interesting results followed. Athletes that have habitually trained in traditional shoes reported injury rates 3.41 times more often than experienced minimalist runners. Only 13.7% of the minimal or barefoot athletes reported injuries (the study abstract did not give a time frame) and 46.7% of the shod runners reported at least one injury.
While this study shows what many of us already know, it also left a great deal out. The abstract does not specify what exactly the parameters were for an injury, or specific differences between traditional and minimal shoes. And did the barefoot runners have to do all of their mileage without shoes, or just a majority? The authors mentioned that barefoot and minimalist runners were more likely to be midfoot strikers, how did midfoot strikers in traditional shoes compare to heel strikers in traditional shoes? The study was unable to go into great detail about stride specifics as well. It would have been very interesting to see how different stride patters among traditionally shod, minimalist, and barefoot runners compared with each other.
What are your thoughts? If you have been running in lightweight footwear, have you noticed a change in your injury occurrence?