Does barefoot running really strengthen foot muscles? New study uses MRI to check activation:

One of arguments in favor of barefoot running is that it will strengthen foot and ankle muscles that are otherwise left dormant in conventional running shoes. It's an idea that makes sense intuitively -- but, like all such ideas, it deserves to be tested. That's what a team of researchers from North Carolina did in a study whose initial results they presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine earlier this month (abstract here ), using MRI techniques to measure muscle activation. Here are the conclusions: Based on these findings, running 1 mile on a treadmill does not result in significant activation of the intrinsic foot muscles. Further, barefoot running does not result in greater activation in these muscles compared to running shod. This suggests that barefoot running may not result in strengthening of the foot intrinsic muscles. Passive st...

Full article: http://sweatscience.runnersworld.com/2012/06/does-barefoo...

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