Little evidence for hazards, or benefits, of habitual barefootedness

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( Reuters Health)- Survey on the long-term effects of habitual barefoot walk-to or operating are scarce, and there is only limited evidence for more foot both problems and no evidence for higher injury rates among people who are often barefoot, according to a new review.

aHaving the enormous abarefoot debatea in intellect, we expected more evidence on the long-term effects of barefoot locomotion, a said lead writer Dr. Karsten Hollander of the Institute of Human Movement Science at the University of Hamburg in Germany .

Some populations, for example South Africa, include many people who are habitually barefoot, Hollander told Reuters Health by email. He and his colleagues are currently preparing a large analyse comparing barefoot children in South Africa to shod children in South Africa and Germany based on the results of foot developing and motor performance.

For the review, Hollander and coauthors included 15 surveys of more than 8,000 people, total, comparing the physical metrics, biomechanics, motor performance and pathologies of habitually barefoot and habitually shoed people.

Habitually barefoot people tended to have slightly wider feet than people who wore shoes. Relative trauma rates were similar irrespective of footwear country, as is indicated in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.

There was no evidence that habitually barefoot people have better motor performance in the long-term, and there was very limited evidence for health-related outcomes, the authors wrote.

The body accommodates well to walking or operating barefoot, Hollander said, abut the body requires time to adapt to this new technique and I believe the amount of training and recovery a body requires is individually different.a

aThere is some evidence for endurance running having been an important factor of our evolution and most probably our ancestors did operate barefoot or with minimalistic footwear, a he said.

Besides blisters, cuts and bruises, there may be different injury patterns in barefoot athletes, he said.

aWhile shod operating leads to more injuries at the plantar fascia, knee, hip and back, barefoot athletes are the most prone to be injured at the Achilles tendon and other tendons of the lower extremity, a he said.

But there seems to be no evidence for more or less overall injuries a and neither is there evidence for protective effects of footwear on injuries, Hollander said. Barefoot locomotion may make for stronger feet.

aMy personal sentiment is that many people could benefit from walking barefoot, a taking care to avoid hazards, he said. Minimalist shoes may help protect the foot from hazards like glass or sharp stones.

aBut the important thing is that the transfer to barefoot or minimalist shoes needs day and some adaptation in the running technique, a he said.

SOURCE: 2frOr1J Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, online October 31, 2016.

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