Stress Fractures in the Vibram FiveFinger’s ‘Barefoot’ Shoe

by admin on May 6, 2010

I was being somewhat facetious in my 2+2=5 logic to show that barefoot runners get more stress fractures. As the barefoot running community tend to apply that logic to so much they claim, my point was why can’t I? Now we have more and more reports surfacing of metatarsal stress fractures occurring in the Vibram Five Fingers, so it appears that my 2+2=5 logic may not have been far off the mark.

We already know that there is not a shred of evidence that running shoes cause injury and a recent publication goes some way to showing that they may be actually protective, which is kind of amusing as I get emails from barefoot runners who say they have proof that running shoes cause injury. What is there proof? It’s usually that they got an injury themselves in a running shoe! This only confirms what I claimed about the barefoot running community’s understanding about what evidence is and how such a claim is nonsensical.

However, if the barefoot running community can make those sorts of claims based on the n=1 experience, then I can make the claim that Vibram Five Fingers causes stress fractures! Why can’t I make such a statement? I know of at least one person that got one (here is another; and more at Podiatry Arena). Is that not enough? Of course its not, but does show up the silly claims that get made about running shoes. We already know that they like having it both ways.

Of concern is some of the discussion going on around the Vibram Five Fingers, with one barefoot runner claiming that the cause of the stress fracture was not doing enough barefoot running which, at best, is extremely irresponsible. And they wonder why the nutters label gets attached to them.

If you follow some of the discussions on barefoot running sites and forum threads, they are trying to dismiss this apparent epidemic of stress fractures in the Vibram Five Fingers as being due to training errors and not really the fault of the Vibrams or the barefoot running. Yet when a runner gets an injury in a running shoe, it the fault of the shoe and not a training error. See how illogical these people are? They can’t keep on having it both ways.

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