Background: Minimalist runners have been shown to have a different gait pattern with lower impact forces than habitually shod runners. Running in minimalist footwear has been promoted as a means of reducing or eliminating running injuries by returning to a more natural gait.
Methods: Ten experienced runners, age 21 to 57 (mean, 43) years, were identified with injuries within 1 year of transition from traditional to minimalist running footwear. Patients were interviewed to determine their running history, injury history, transition to minimalist footwear, and their new injury including its treatment and recovery.
Results: Ten patients who ran with traditional footwear ran an average of 25.9 (range, 6 to 45) miles/week for an average of 18.9 (range, 1 to 40) years presented with injuries 2.8 (range 1 to 10) months after switching to minimalist footwear. Their injuries included eight metatarsal stress fractures, a calcaneal stress fracture, and a plantar fascia rupture. All patients had a successful recovery and returned to their previous level of running.
Conclusion: Injuries including stress fractures and plantar fascia rupture have been observed in minimalist runners.