Is it better to go barefoot when you have a stress fracture? Well, that’s what we’re talking about today on the Doc On The Run Podcast!
This episode comes from a question from a runner I saw in person during a second opinion house call.
She had a metatarsal stress fracture and felt like it was more comfortable when she was barefoot.
The more you can reduce the stress and strain to the injured metatarsal bone and the healing stress fracture the faster it will heal.
The types of shoes you wear during the recovery can change those stresses for better or worse depending upon which shoes you are wearing.
You need to focus on protecting and healing that metatarsal stress fracture if you want to get back to running as fast as possible.
Before we get started in this episode, I just wanted to mention that I’ve made something for you that you might find really helpful if you’re a runner who’s recovering from a stress fracture, it’s called the Stress Fracture Masterclass, and it’s a presentation I did where we go into a deep dive about the things you really need to understand as a runner when you’re trying to figure out if you can run, should you run, when you should run, all of that. We talk in depth about the differences between a stress response, a stress reaction, and a stress fracture. If you understand those things it’ll really help you make better decisions. You can get it for free here or at docontherun.com/stressfracturemasterclass.
All right, now this question comes from an athlete who I actually saw in person and she had a stress fracture and she told me that she thought that she felt better when she was wearing no shoes at all, as to compared to when she was wearing some shoes and wanted to know whether or not the thing would heal faster if she was going barefoot. And that’s a really good question. Now, it kind of depends on what shoes they are, but you to think about what it takes to really heal a stress fracture to make the best decisions, because you want it to calm down as quickly as possible. And it is called a stress fracture, so the more stress you apply to the bone when it’s healing the longer it’s going to take for it to heal. It’s not complicated. The more you can reduce the stress and strain on that bone, the fast it’s going to recover, it’s as simple as that.
So if you like to go barefoot, I understand why it would feel better if you’re sitting on the couch barefoot, as opposed to wearing a shoe. But if you get up and walk on it, it’s going to definitely put higher peak forces, meaning pressure to specific points on the bone when you’re wearing no shoes at all as compared to when you’re actually wearing something like a running shoe. The type of running shoe also matters. The softer it is the more stability it has under the forefoot, the more rocker under the forefoot, the more curved it is under the forefoot. All of those things actually decrease the stress and strain throughout the ball of the foot. So if you have a metatarsal stress fracture, those kind of shoes will actually help.
If you’re wearing shoes like four inch heels, those are definitely going to make it feel worse because they’re putting more stress and strain on the ball of the foot. If you wear high heeled shoes, cowboy boots, anything that actually has an elevated heel and a thin, rigid hard forefoot soul underneath the ball of the foot, if that’s where your injury is, well, it will definitely make it worse. So in general, I tell people that they should be wearing shoes that actually feel better when they’re walking around, even in a house when they have a stress fracture.
But you’ve just got to understand what it is that you can do to remove some of the stress and strain to the metatarsal, if you really want it to heal quickly so you can get back to running. But again, if you want to check out the Stress Fracture Masterclass, it’ll explain a lot of stuff that it is going to be really helpful if you want to get back to running. But, you’ve got to protect that metatarsal as much as possible when you have a metatarsal stress fracture and you’ve got to reduce the stress and strain if you want to get back to running faster, that’s the bottom line. So go check it out. It’s at docontherun.com/stressfracturemasterclass, all one word. I’ll see you in the training.
If you really want to understand how bad your stress fracture really is, you have to understand the different forms of stress fractures. And this is something to teach to you in the Stress Fracture Masterclass. Now it’s free, you can go sign up, it’s at docontherun.com/stressfracturemasterclass, all one word. And in this session, I’m going to teach you the differences between stress response, stress reaction, and stress fractures, and what all of those different stages really mean to a recovering runner who wants to run and maintain your running fitness while recovering. So just go to docontherun.com/stressfracturemasterclass and sign up now.