By Emily Delzell
Investigators at Brigham Young University in Provo, UT, reported that runners who transitioned from traditional running shoes to zero-drop shoes meant to mimic barefoot running had evidence of bone marrow edema, a marker for stress on the foot, after gradual transition from conventional to minimalist shoes.
Investigators recruited 36 experienced recreational runners who underwent magnetic resonance imaging to measure bone marrow edema before and after a 10-week trial. They matched a control group of 17 runners with 19 runners who transitioned from traditional to minimalist footwear.
Bone marrow edema was not statistically different between control and minimalist running groups at baseline; after 10 weeks, however, posttraining measurements showed that minimalist runners were more likely than controls to have increases in bone marrow edema in at least one bone.
The researchers, who e-published their results in February in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, concluded that runners interested in transitioning to minimalist running shoes should do so very slowly to avoid potential stress injuries.
Ridge ST, Johnson AW, Mitchell UH, et al. Foot bone marrow edema after 10-week transition to minimalist running shoes. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2013 Feb 22. [Epub ahead of print]