Musculoskeletal Medicine and PainBRIEF REPORT

Self-Reported Minimalist Running Injury Incidence and Severity: A Pilot Study

Katrina Ostermann, DO; Lance Ridpath, MS; and Jandy B. Hanna, PhD
Notes and Affiliations
Notes and Affiliations

Accepted: May 24, 2016

Published: August 1, 2016

J Osteopath Med; 116(8): 512-520

Context: Minimalist running entails using shoes with a flexible thin sole and is popular in the United States. Existing literature disagrees over whether minimalist running shoes (MRS) improve perceived severity of injuries associated with running in traditional running shoes (TRS). Additionally, the perceived injury patterns associated with MRS are relatively unknown.

Objectives: To examine whether injury incidence and severity (ie, degree of pain) by body region change after switching to MRS, and to determine if transition times affect injury incidences or severity with MRS.

Methods: Runners who were either current or previous users of MRS were recruited to complete an Internet-based survey regarding self-reported injury before switching to MRS and whether self-reported pain from that injury decreased after switching. Questions regarding whether new injuries developed in respondents after switching to MRS were also included. Analyses were calculated using t tests, Wilcoxon signed rank tests, and Fischer exact tests.

Results: Forty-seven runners completed the survey, and 16 respondents reported injuries before switching to MRS. Among these respondents, pain resulting from injuries of the feet (P=.03) and knees (P=.01) decreased. Eighteen respondents (38.3%) indicated they sustained new injuries after switching to MRS, but the severity of these did not differ significantly from no injury. Neither time allowed for transition to MRS nor use or disuse of a stretching routine during this period was correlated with an increase in the incidence or severity of injuries.

Conclusions: After switching to MRS, respondents perceived an improvement in foot and knee injuries. Additionally, respondents using MRS reported an injury rate of 38.3%, compared with the approximately 64% that the literature reports among TRS users. Future studies should be expanded to determine the full extent of the differences in injury patterns between MRS and TRS.

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