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running barefoot

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Postby Ze » Mon Jan 18, 2010 6:51 pm

foweyman wrote:The reason for controlling this variable is that it would allow the determination of whether it is the shoes or changes in the running form that causes the observed differences. It would be important to know if the shoes caused the changes or if they only allowed or encouraged them.


I get what you are saying... Basically you just want to understand what effect shoes have, given that the running form stays the same. But honestly I don't think that's the best way to think about it, human running form consists of the interaction of the human musculoskeletal system and shoes & ground. You don't get to just change one without changing the other.

The body moves in a certain manner dependent on the nature of the surface beneath it. Dynamics of the center of mass and segments of the body have to match in accordance with the reaction force underneath the feet.

Now people can model the properties of the shoes, that's been done plenty. Then, in a dynamic model simulation the running motion, you could try to keep the same running motion and change the property of the foot - surface interaction and see what happens. But that isn't necessarily realistic.
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Postby foweyman » Tue Jan 19, 2010 2:31 pm

Ze wrote:
foweyman wrote:The reason for controlling this variable is that it would allow the determination of whether it is the shoes or changes in the running form that causes the observed differences. It would be important to know if the shoes caused the changes or if they only allowed or encouraged them.


I get what you are saying... Basically you just want to understand what effect shoes have, given that the running form stays the same. But honestly I don't think that's the best way to think about it, human running form consists of the interaction of the human musculoskeletal system and shoes & ground. You don't get to just change one without changing the other.

The body moves in a certain manner dependent on the nature of the surface beneath it. Dynamics of the center of mass and segments of the body have to match in accordance with the reaction force underneath the feet.

Now people can model the properties of the shoes, that's been done plenty. Then, in a dynamic model simulation the running motion, you could try to keep the same running motion and change the property of the foot - surface interaction and see what happens. But that isn't necessarily realistic.


The notion that you can't change one (running form) without changing the other (shoes) is not correct. Making changes in various aspects of running form is something that runners do routinely by themselves or aided by their coaches, and they don't need to change shoes in order to make the changes.
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Postby Ze » Wed Jan 20, 2010 3:01 am

foweyman wrote:The notion that you can't change one (running form) without changing the other (shoes) is not correct. Making changes in various aspects of running form is something that runners do routinely by themselves or aided by their coaches, and they don't need to change shoes in order to make the changes.


Hi foweyman,

We may be arguing semantics and on different levels of what consists of different "form", but this I will be clear:

In the absolute sense, the laws of physics ensure that a change in force on the foot requires a change in motion of the body.

F = m*a.

The acceleration of the center of mass of the body can be described as a function of the acceleration of the individual body segments OR the reaction force applied at the foot. And they must be in agreement.

If you change the properties of the the foot / shoe / ground interaction, there will be some change in the motion / mechanics (i.e. accelerations) of the body.

That being said, perhaps the extent of change is not large in your mind and may be considered the 'same form'.
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Postby foweyman » Thu Jan 21, 2010 4:56 pm

Ze wrote:
foweyman wrote:The notion that you can't change one (running form) without changing the other (shoes) is not correct. Making changes in various aspects of running form is something that runners do routinely by themselves or aided by their coaches, and they don't need to change shoes in order to make the changes.


Hi foweyman,

We may be arguing semantics and on different levels of what consists of different "form", but this I will be clear:

In the absolute sense, the laws of physics ensure that a change in force on the foot requires a change in motion of the body.

F = m*a.

The acceleration of the center of mass of the body can be described as a function of the acceleration of the individual body segments OR the reaction force applied at the foot. And they must be in agreement.

If you change the properties of the the foot / shoe / ground interaction, there will be some change in the motion / mechanics (i.e. accelerations) of the body.


You are rebutting a claim that I never made. I never said that shoes don't make any change in running form, just that they don't rigidly determine every aspect of running form as you previously claimed: "The body moves in a certain manner dependent on the nature of the surface beneath it." The fact that runners can change various aspects of their form without changing shoes, supports this .

Ze wrote:That being said, perhaps the extent of change is not large in your mind and may be considered the 'same form'.
My mind isn't made up, and unfortunately the study is inadequate to help in answering that question.
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Postby Ze » Thu Jan 21, 2010 9:29 pm

foweyman wrote:You are rebutting a claim that I never made. I never said that shoes don't make any change in running form, just that they don't rigidly determine every aspect of running form as you previously claimed: "The body moves in a certain manner dependent on the nature of the surface beneath it." The fact that runners can change various aspects of their form without changing shoes, supports this .



You are right, I misspoke (errr, wrote). You can certainly have a change in form without a change in shoe properties. And they definitely don't determine running form alone. All I mean is that you can't have the same exact form with and without shoes.

But yeah, the study is underwhelming.
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Postby ksolem » Thu Jan 21, 2010 10:16 pm

I’m still trying to figure out how they can describe the leverage (yes in the sagittal plane) on a knee as torque. Torque would mean there was an axial component such as a shaft through the knee to which leverage was applied. Since the knee has no such component the torque is implied but not applied. The math for determining the forces in leverage and torque are not the same.

My question is this. Are not the various structures and attachments of the knee subject to forces of leverage, not torque? (Of course there can be torque in the transverse)

So again I run the risk of looking stupid, but I think this is a legitimate question. Next Tues I will be among a group of top notch physical Therapists at Core Conditioning, where I will ask this question as well.
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Postby Ze » Tue Jan 26, 2010 3:20 am

ksolem wrote:I’m still trying to figure out how they can describe the leverage (yes in the sagittal plane) on a knee as torque. Torque would mean there was an axial component such as a shaft through the knee to which leverage was applied. Since the knee has no such component the torque is implied but not applied. The math for determining the forces in leverage and torque are not the same.

My question is this. Are not the various structures and attachments of the knee subject to forces of leverage, not torque? (Of course there can be torque in the transverse)

So again I run the risk of looking stupid, but I think this is a legitimate question. Next Tues I will be among a group of top notch physical Therapists at Core Conditioning, where I will ask this question as well.


Lets say you have two segments (bones), femur (thigh) and tibia (shank). You have a muscle attached to both segments via tendon (vastus lateralis, knee extensor).

The muscle itself creates a force when it contracts, but the muscle x moment arm creates a moment (or torque) about the knee joint.

The knee is subject to both forces and moments. The forces are the linear components and moments are basically the rotational component. When you contract the knee extensors, it creates linear forces (compression at the knee) and rotational (acceleration of the segments about the knee).

The authors discuss moments (and not muscle forces) because they are more reliable. Getting muscles forces is another step in which some additional assumptions are needed to estimate them.
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Postby dan2see » Tue Jan 26, 2010 4:52 am

I don't really get the science here. But I wish somebody would "step out" of the science, and look at feet, and what they do.

First, you should never forget that humans, and their ancestors, walked this earth for millions of years with bare feet. That has led us to develop the most amazing system ever for bipedal locomotion.

The skin on the sole of your feet is pliable and rugged, and when injured it exhibits a truly amazing ability to heal. Inside is a pad that feels like a gel, it works really great to take the pounding, and distribute the pressure. Our bones move the right way, from the phalanges all the way up to your back.

These amazing adaptations go on and on, so that we are unmatched in the world, when we need to walk, run, or climb.

I repeat, this has been going on for millions of years -- all barefoot.

Until now. Now, we just gotta protect those joints from moving. Now, we forget how to walk, how to run?

Now, look at this thread, and all the discussions about variables and momentum, and tell me, is anybody able to run barefoot?
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Postby ksolem » Tue Jan 26, 2010 4:29 pm

I don't run barefoot other than short sprints, but I do spend more than half of most days shoeless. Pilates is traditionally done barefoot, so there is all my time at that, plus around the house and lots of walking. I do most of my rock climbing descents without shoes and can easily keep up with my shod parnters coming down from Tahquitz to lunch rock.

All of this has completely solved my old tendency to pronate, a problem I was developing after several broken ankles. The trick is to be aware at all times and not stub your toes. Once you get past the learning curve re toes, going barefoot as much as possible is great for your whole body.

The first step is to never wear shoes in your home. Just be aware of those toes, and be careful cooking. Most serious cooks wear protective shoes lest they drop a knife or cleaver.
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Postby Ze » Wed Jan 27, 2010 3:16 pm

dan2see wrote:I don't really get the science here. But I wish somebody would "step out" of the science, and look at feet, and what they do.

First, you should never forget that humans, and their ancestors, walked this earth for millions of years with bare feet. That has led us to develop the most amazing system ever for bipedal locomotion.

The skin on the sole of your feet is pliable and rugged, and when injured it exhibits a truly amazing ability to heal. Inside is a pad that feels like a gel, it works really great to take the pounding, and distribute the pressure. Our bones move the right way, from the phalanges all the way up to your back.

These amazing adaptations go on and on, so that we are unmatched in the world, when we need to walk, run, or climb.

I repeat, this has been going on for millions of years -- all barefoot.

Until now. Now, we just gotta protect those joints from moving. Now, we forget how to walk, how to run?

Now, look at this thread, and all the discussions about variables and momentum, and tell me, is anybody able to run barefoot?


I get that, but things aren't black and white. Go run around barefoot on "natural" surfaces like dirt and grass? Sure.

Go run a 10K at 6 min mile pace barefoot on concrete? Not "natural". Not so sure.

But it's definitely intriguing.
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Postby Dave Dinnell » Wed Jan 27, 2010 5:50 pm

Ze wrote:
dan2see wrote:I don't really get the science here. But I wish somebody would "step out" of the science, and look at feet, and what they do.

First, you should never forget that humans, and their ancestors, walked this earth for millions of years with bare feet. That has led us to develop the most amazing system ever for bipedal locomotion.

The skin on the sole of your feet is pliable and rugged, and when injured it exhibits a truly amazing ability to heal. Inside is a pad that feels like a gel, it works really great to take the pounding, and distribute the pressure. Our bones move the right way, from the phalanges all the way up to your back.

These amazing adaptations go on and on, so that we are unmatched in the world, when we need to walk, run, or climb.

I repeat, this has been going on for millions of years -- all barefoot.

Until now. Now, we just gotta protect those joints from moving. Now, we forget how to walk, how to run?

Now, look at this thread, and all the discussions about variables and momentum, and tell me, is anybody able to run barefoot?


I get that, but things aren't black and white. Go run around barefoot on "natural" surfaces like dirt and grass? Sure.

Go run a 10K at 6 min mile pace barefoot on concrete? Not "natural". Not so sure.

But it's definitely intriguing.


Another thought to the "but our ancestors didn't wear shoes..." is that our ancestors also supposedly experienced much shorter life spans. I was fine running both shod and unshod until I hit my mid 40's. Then PF set in. I can imagine escaping a predator thousand's of years ago might be a bit more difficult with chronic foot injuries. :wink:
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Postby wsch » Fri Jan 29, 2010 9:13 pm

not a runner but thought this was interesting:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/stor ... =123031997
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Postby dan2see » Fri Jan 29, 2010 10:25 pm

Dave Dinnell wrote:...
Another thought to the "but our ancestors didn't wear shoes..." is that our ancestors also supposedly experienced much shorter life spans. I was fine running both shod and unshod until I hit my mid 40's. Then PF set in. I can imagine escaping a predator thousand's of years ago might be a bit more difficult with chronic foot injuries. :wink:


People die because of poor life-style, accident, or illness.
In the bad old days before germs, any serious damage to your skin or bone could soon result in infection, and that would kill you. Germs are so effective that most folks were killed by something before middle-age.

Today, people survive because of antibiotics and medical care.
Everybody I know has suffered a broken bone, and stitches, but all have escaped smallpox, typhus, or TB. My flu shots and tetanus shots are up-to-date.

As for running until you hit your 40's, that seems pretty common. A lot of friends have told me that the stopped running because of (... insert reason here...). On the other hand, an active life-style will keep you hiking forever, and the occasional run never hurt anybody.

Escaping predators is kinda tricky, but I think that experience and knowledge will help you survive from bears and cougars -- use your brain, not your feet.

But I'll add one scenario that keeps my boots on: hiking in the mountains. There I find the terrain is too rough for comfort, especially above tree-line where the scree is absolutely painful. So I don't mind telling you that I love my boots and gaiters, almost as much as l love walking barefoot.
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Postby dan2see » Fri Jan 29, 2010 10:29 pm

wsch wrote:not a runner but thought this was interesting:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/stor ... =123031997


Thanks for the link. 8)
It's interesting, and it goes along with my own ideas about how we walk.
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