SOURCE: American Podiatric Medical Association

American Podiatric Medical Association

July 26, 2011 06:15 ET

"The Great Shoe Flap" Arrives in Boston: Is Barefoot Running Better?

Podiatrists Discuss Risks and Benefits at APMA's Annual Scientific Meeting, July 28-31

BOSTON, MA--(Marketwire - Jul 26, 2011) - It's an ancient practice widely popularized by one man's experience with a tribe in Mexico. Products marketed to devotees now reportedly sell more than five times what they did two years ago. And this Friday, the hot-button topic of barefoot running will be scrutinized by more than 1,000 of the nation's podiatrists at the American Podiatric Medical Association's 99th Annual Scientific Meeting, at Boston's John B. Hynes Veteran's Memorial Convention Center.

"Barefoot running and the use of minimalist footwear are very controversial topics. They are movements within the running community that many are incredibly passionate about," said Paul Langer, DPM, APMA member, book author, and avid marathoner. Dr. Langer, along with David Jenkins, DPM, will speak about the risks and benefits of this practice during a presentation Friday, July 29, titled "The Great Shoe Flap: Is Barefoot Better?"

The podiatrists will focus on the facts and dispelling myths surrounding barefoot running with the help of images, video footage, and minimalist shoe demonstrations. Dr. Jenkins described the presentation as an opportunity to sift through the Internet hype and help those interested in running barefoot avoid injury.

Dr. Jenkins, a professor at Midwestern University's Arizona Podiatric Medicine Program, recently compiled extensive research from more than 120 external sources -- including Christopher McDougall's "barefoot bible," Born to Run. "There has been a lot of focus on the biomechanics of barefoot running, and not as much on the perceived hazards that can cause injury," he said. "Our presentation is neutral from a scientific approach and aims to address all of the important angles."

Although many consider barefoot running a "craze," Dr. Langer believes it has longevity.

"I don't see barefoot running as a fad. I think it's here to stay," said Dr. Langer, who uses minimalist footwear as part of his own training program. "This presentation is an opportunity for us to clarify all of the information out there. Science is kind of lagging behind."

In addition to the barefoot running presentation, other highlights of APMA's Annual Scientific Meeting include opening session speaker Ross Shafer, a six-time Emmy-winning author and comedian, as well as several hands-on surgical workshops for members.

For APMA's position statement on barefoot running, click here.

To attend the Boston meeting or to schedule an interview with a podiatrist, please contact ahberard@apma.org. For more information about APMA's meeting, visit www.apma.org/thenational.

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Founded in 1912, the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) is the nation's leading and recognized professional organization for doctors of podiatric medicine (DPMs). DPMs are podiatric physicians and surgeons, also known as podiatrists, qualified by their education, training and experience to diagnose and treat conditions affecting the foot, ankle, and structures of the leg. The medical education and training of a DPM includes four years of undergraduate education, four years of graduate education at an accredited podiatric medical college, and two or three years of hospital residency training. APMA has 53 state component locations across the United States and its territories, with a membership of close to 12,000 podiatrists. All practicing APMA members are licensed by the state in which they practice podiatric medicine. For more information, visit www.apma.org.

LOCAL MEDIA NOTE: Presentation on barefoot running Friday, July 29, from 1-1:45 p.m. at Hynes Convention Center. Interviews available at presentation's conclusion, and again from 5-6 p.m.

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