Yes, you read it correctly, Vibram Five Fingers (VFF) shoes are currently embroiled in a lawsuit as they are alleged to have made "deceptive and misleading statements about the benefits of barefoot running".
As part of the lawsuit, there was even a research paper cited, where the American Council of Exercise (ACE) found that many people who made the switch to wear VFF's continue to land on their heels. The researchers found that runners wearing the VFF had twice the loading rate compared to runners using "normal shoes" if they landed on their heels.
You would already know that 2 times loading rate is still fairly low, especially so if you have come to the running workshop (http://weloverunning.blogspot.com/2011/12/running-talk-workshop-ttsh-for-spa.html). This is actually considerably less than another study done by prominent barefoot running researcher Daniel Lieberman who found that barefoot runners who landed on their heels had impact forces 7 times higher than if you land on your heels in shoes.
As discussed in the workshop, barefoot running is a skill that needs to be mastered. The ACE study had their runners do a 2 week "familiarization" period in the VFF, where they ran 20 minutes a day to get used to it. However, 50 % of runners still landed on their heels after the 2 week familiarization period, while in Lieberman's study, 83% of his runners were still heel striking.
Hence, it doesn't matter what you shoes you wear, it's how good your running technique is and how you land that really matters. That means if you master the technique, you can run in literally any shoes you want.
It is then important for me to add that if you as a coach/ physiotherapist/ personal trainer etc are asking your athletes/ patients/ clients etc to run barefoot, you need to teach them the right way to do it and you need to make sure you will make them good enough to avoid them getting hurt. If not, you've caused them to be injured despite your good intentions.
The participants also learned that the Ram's head technique (Fascia Correction) can also be done at the elbow joint (or knee) and not just at the ITB - something previously not taught before (Picture 2).
Sports Physiotherapy & Sports Rehab Clinic, 43 Jalan Merah Saga #01-70 (278115). Contact us at 64751218
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Sports Solutions Running Club
What Better Than To Run With A Physiotherapist? Learn Pain Free Running Techniques. We start at 108 Amoy Street every Thursday at 630pm. Call us at 62236078 to let us know you're joining us.
About Gino Ng
Prior to joining Physio Solutions and starting up Sports Solutions, Gino Ng worked as a senior sports physiotherapist at the Singapore Sports Council (SSC) from 1999-2009. He graduated with a double masters in Musculoskeletal and Sports Physiotherapy from the University of South Australia on a SSC sponsorship.
Gino's position is perhaps most unique amongst sports physiotherapists in Singapore having seen all sides of the field as a practitioner, an athlete and as a patient.
His special interests are in the treatment of articular cartilage injuries having done research in the area whilst undergoing his postgraduate training. He specializes in treating sports injuries, as well as devising sports rehabilitation programmes after reconstructive surgeries to the shoulder, knee and ankle joints.
As a former national triathlete, Gino is a 2-time Singapore National Triathlon champion (2000-2001), National Duathlon champion (2001), 10-time winner of the National Vertical Marathon (1998-2001, 2004-2005, 2007-2010). He has also placed 4th at the 2001 Asian Duathlon Championships in Hong Kong and made several podium finishes in the Asian Cup Triathlon Series events over the years while holding down a full time job as a physiotherapist.
Partly as a result of his grueling training regime, Gino needed 3 knee surgeries in 2002 and 2003. After which he made a comeback and placed 4th in the 2005 SEA Games triathlon event.
When not participating, Gino has kept close to sports, travelling widely with the Singapore medical teams for major overseas events such as the various SEA Games, 2002, 2006 Commonwealth Games, the 2006 Asian Games and he is the only local Singaporean physiotherapist to have been to both the 2004 Athens and 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Gino is also one of only two certified Kinesio Taping Instuctors (CKTI) in Singapore and teaches the Kinesio Taping Level 1 & 2 courses. He is also a frequent speaker at symposiums and sporting events.