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The Minimalist Shoe Fad: Believe the Hype?
From:
Burton Schuler --  La Luz Press Burton Schuler -- La Luz Press
Lynn Haven , FL
Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Example of Minimalist Running Shoe
 
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In a July 27, 2011 New York Times article, the author reports that "sales for running shoes are sprinting along, with retail sales for the first half of 2011 up 18 percent over the same period last year…but those gains come from a "…new crop of pared-down running shoes, whose sales are up 283 percent" http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/28/business/media/appealing-to-runners-even-the-shoeless.html?_r=1&pagewanted=print). These include shoes like Vibram's FiveFingers, which fit the foot the same way the glove fits a hand, finger by finger (toe by toe.) New Balance also has a new minimalist shoe, aptly named NB Minimus. These minimalist shoes have received much media hype since Vibram FiveFingers shoes were launched. The latest innovation from the world leader in high-performance rubber soles

Shoes such as the FiveFingers claim a more natural forefoot strike, allowing natural foot motion while still protecting feet while on adverse surfaces. These are ideal for those who crave the barefoot running experience without the hassle of actually going barefoot while running. The verdict is still out on the overall effectiveness of this growing trend—and many podiatrists are weighing in on the issue—sometimes cautioning that shoes are not the magic bullet for correcting foot problems while running. For example, Panama City podiatrist, Dr. Burton S. Schuler, has been connecting his research on short first metatarsal bones to sports injuries http://www.whyyoureallyhurt.com).

A short first metatarsal bone is commonly referred to as a "Morton's Toe", and many people suffer from this condition—causing the foot to overpronate and unevenly distribute weight, inducing pain in many parts of your body. While more shoewear choices are welcome by podiatrists like Schuler, the problem may be with thinking it's your shoes, when pain may be caused by your foot's actual bone structure. And what Schuler recommends for those who suffer from Morton's Toe is to eliminate painful shoewear—with the most obvious being high heels—and consider applying a toe pad beneath the first toe. This pad helps correct the foot's overpronation and redistribute proper foot balance. This will also eliminate many conditions linked to Morton;'s Toe such as bunions, corns, heel spurs and plantar fasciitis http://www.footcare4u.com).

Editor in chief of Runners' World magazine, David Willey, reminds runners who have not experienced problems to be careful about switching to minimalist shoewear. Simply stated: if it isn't broke, don't fix it. And podiatrists like Dr. Burton S. Schuler, who has practiced podiatry for over thirty years, would agree with this advice. Dr. Burton S. Schuler, author of Why You Really Hurt: It All Starts in the Foot, has practice podiatry in Panama City, Florida for over three decades and has treated world class runners and athletes. Schuler has written on the importance of customizing your footwear and exercise routines to fit your own unique situation http://whyyoureallyhurt.com/mortons-toe/jogging-and-running/).

 
Michelle Matison, Ph.D.
Administrative Assistant
The Ambulatory Foot Clinic
Lynn Haven, FL
850-763-3333
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