Ask A Pro

Q

I am a 25 year old male and enjoy running. I currently run 4.5 miles 3-4 time per week and would like to progress to a minimalist type shoe (i.e., Nike FVibram 5 fingers). What advice can you give me to make this transition?

 
A

It's important to know that when transitioning into minimalist footwear that there is a transition phase that should take place. This transition can be broken down into 4 stages; each stage helps ensure injury avoidance. There are also very specific foot exercises that your physical therapist can instruct you on to ensure a pain free transitions.

  • Early Adaptation: During this stage the wearer begins to wear the shoe for 1-4 hours per day, during non weight bearing activitiearound the house or office for brief periods.
  • Progressive Wear: During this stage, the wearer begins to spend more time in weight bearing positions and increases wear time to 3-6 hours per day, a few days per week.
  • Running Transition: This stage involves beginning progressive overload (as if working out) to build up to running. This includes longer walks and short jogs on soft surfaces.
  • Running Progression: The final stage is building up running distance, time, and speed, along with progressing from controlled softer surfaces, such as tracks or treadmills, to varied firm surfaces.

This is a general recommendation of an individual who is injury free and has been running regularly. This process can take 4 to 6 months or longer depending on the individual. When progressing to minimalist footwear it is important to listen to your body regarding injuries and consult your physical therapist if pain persists.

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