I didn't say anything about the "need" to research. As a movement therapist, I am hugely interested in the study of the human body, much of my knowledge and understanding doesn't come from "scientific" research. It comes from having great teachers and my observational studies.
In regards to the Vibrams settlement, Vibrams made a claim that their shoes would strengthen feet and reduce injury. Unfortunately in a legal sense, if you make a health claim such as this, you must be able to back it up. Which they cannot. And in my professional opinion, their claim is only half true. I see just as many injuries in minimalist shoes as I see in non minimalist shoes. Injuries have more to do with an individuals ability to move well, i.e. form, than the shoes they place on their feet. If you move well, then minimalist shoes will strengthen your feet. If you move poorly, they will probably cause pain and injury.
“Thanks for all that, Jesse. Perhaps they should have chosen their wording more wisely...I do know that my feet are stronger and I haven't sustained the injuries I used to get all the time - I haven't rolled my ankles, pulled a calf muscle...I started having problems with my calves after using Adidas Bounce tennis shoes, which were supposed to provide optimum support. All of a sudden my calves were murderously tight/painful . I figured those weren't a good choice for me personally for running, but fine to walk around in. The scientific research, I was just trying to say that the claims are true for a lot of us. Like you pointed out, and I agree, form is crucial. It IS completely different. I tell people when they're curious about my shoes it's actually good to start without any shoes at all because it forces you to take it as easy as you need to on your feet, to run 'light' on your forefoot and not pound. Typical shoes will protect you a little when you pound, but I don't think it's good for anybody long term to pound. I read that, done properly, barefoot running strengthens your muscles, ligaments and tendons; that they're meant to support your body and it takes the strain off your joints. As a fitness expert, what do you think?”
“The news of this settlement have created quite a stir in the running community. People are making a big of a deal out of this, but in my opinion it is a total non story. It’s pretty simple. Vibram made a claim they couldn’t back up with scientific research. The basics of the claim was that simply wearing Vibram Five Finger shoes would strengthen the muscles of your foot and decrease injuries. The fact that Vibram settled has nothing to do with whether the claim is true or not. And since Vibram isn’t admitted any guilt or wrong-doing, we really don’t know why they decided to settle. It’s possible that Vibram felt it was cheaper to settle than to fight this lawsuit further.
This settlement doesn't add anything to the ongoing conversation about whether barefoot/minimalist shoes are beneficial or harmful. The reality is that they are both beneficial some and harmful others. What matters more than your shoes is your body's ability to move efficiently. Does your structure absorb and release the impact energy through proper gait mechanics. Or do you have dysfunction in the structure where breakdown takes place. I share more thoughts on this in this post http://tao-fit.com/vibrams-settlement/
“Why does being a human being need research?? I think that's the issue. They are so bound and determined that shoes are best for everybody - says who?? A podiatrist, who makes hundreds of thousands a year? YES you need to transition because chances are you've worn shoes since infancy. If they want research though, I'll raise my hand - I have ALL of those benefits, but I took years to build up to a 5k.”
“Plantar fasciitis is an injury caused by poor posture and bio-mechanics. Inserts only provide temporary relief. It is a band aid fix which ultimately restricts the natural movement of the foot. This makes the intrinsic musculature of the foot weak. Over time this will cause even greater postural dysfunction.
There are many alternative options for treating postural and bio-mechanical dysfunction. They can be addressed by seeking help from a movement therapist. With proper assessment a correction routine of manual therapy, foam roller therapy, and corrective exercises will help reduce the symptoms of pain and restore the body's natural movement. Here is an article with some self treatment tips for several of the issue on the list, as well as a better explanation of their underlying causes of plantar fasciitis.
Jul 6, 2011 at 22:09:24
“I am a licensed massage therapist. I specialize in chronic pain and injury management. I have had a tremendous amount of success helping people (including myself) through chronic pain issues (9 months-1.5 years) using deep tissue massage therapy techniques such as myofascial release and trigger point therapy. Clients who went the traditional medicine route; pills, injections, physical therapy, and surgeries; with little to no results. Within a 2-10 sessions saw significant results.
If you are one of the many who suffer from chronic pain on a daily basis, take heart that you are not alone, and you will get through it. I highly recommend finding a highly qualified, experienced soft-tissue therapist to see if therapeutic massage will help you. You can read my blog about chronic pain management techniques to learn more.