I recently attended “The Running Event,” a symposium in Austin, TX for retailers and shoe manufacturers involved in the running industry. In addition to seeing the debut of new products, attendees heard lectures addressing a myriad of topics such as running form, injuries, lower extremity biomechanics and marketing strategies for retailers.
While I did not attend to hear the marketing strategies, I found the other lectures to be outstanding. They introduced current information and studies that are related to runners and shoe gear. It was also great to see two of our colleagues, Rob Conenello, DPM, and Paul Langer, DPM, lecturing as well. Presenters at podiatric conferences rarely discuss such topics, which are important for those treating runners.
It is important for DPMs who treat a fair amount of runners to attend events such as these and stay involved with the running community. The running community is a close-knit group of individuals who are typically knowledgeable in regard to inquiring about running injuries. They will recognize if the doctor they are addressing is not on the same page.
One of the trends I observed this year was that most, if not all, of the shoe manufactures are now introducing a line of shoes that could be categorized as minimalist shoes. While we still do not have a concrete definition for minimalist shoes, most will agree that these shoes should allow the foot to function as close to its natural state as possible. Some of the companies prefer to call this line a shoe that “promotes natural foot function” as opposed to a minimalist shoe.
For the physicians who have concerns about minimalist shoes, I would encourage you to familiarize yourself with the latest shoes that companies are introducing as well as the proper way to transition into these shoes safely to avoid overuse injuries. Many runners are choosing to go down the minimalist path. Those physicians who are not willing to accept these shoes as a viable option for their running patients may find themselves losing patients.
Editor’s note: Dr. Campitelli has disclosed that he is an unpaid Medical Advisor to Vibram USA. Dr. Campitelli is the author of a new iBook entitled Running In A Minimalist Shoe. For more information on the book, visit https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/running-in-a-minimalist-shoe/id57947345...