Questions & Answers


I have been battling a sore right Achilles for the past couple of weeks. I have also had a stress fracture in my left foot as well. I know these are pretty common injuries for runners transitioning into more minimalist running. Any one having or had similar issues? What injuries have you had since running in more minimal foot wear? How did you get over the injury?


Answers and Replies


I recognize your problems with the Achilles. On both legs I had pain where the Achilles and the calf join. This went over after some time. I have also had and sometimes still have pain in my feet. The transition needs to be done carefull and slowly. So please be patient and take your time.

Modern athletes sometimes take a very cold bath to help their muscles recover from the training. I decided to try this for my feet. After all, the muscles in your feet are being trained a lot in minimal shoes. So after each training I put my feet in a very cold bath for about ten minutes. And this helps me very well. Try it yourself and see if it helps for you too. The water has to be really cold. Use a freezing pack from your fridge.


I too suffered a stress fracture on my right foot. This happened after I had already logged a few hundred miles in my VFF's.

I don't believe that my stress fracture was a result of the footwear, but I feel it was my own carelessness. After having successfully trained for one half marathon in them (I've done several before that), I then started training for my second VFF half and started going more for time than form.

I ended up having to take about 2.5 months off to recover. Coming back from the injury, I started out slow. Half a mile at first, no music, and focusing purely on form and listening to how I was landing each stride. I ran those half milers for a few weeks before I started going further, gradually working up to my next half training schedule.

Happy to say that I successfully completed another one with no issues except for minor aches over the spot.

Good Luck!


Yeah, had that. Stay away from anti-inflamatories... this can impede the tendon's ability to repair itself.

Went to rehab and besides doing strengthening exercises, they taught me how to run.

Still have a little "inflamed bursa" or bursitis after a run that I treat with ice.


I've been running barefoot/minimalist for about four years now. In that time I've never injured myself while running without footwear (blisters don't count); I've injured myself twice running in Vibram FiveFingers. Both my VFF injuries were to the top of my foot: the first one prevented me from running for about two months; the other for about three weeks (I felt it coming and stopped before I did real damage). In both cases the injury occurred when I added speed sessions to distance sessions. My undeerstanding of what happened was that my feet weren't yet sufficiently strong to deal with the extra stress of the speed sessions and so they got hurt. This never happened while barefoot because I couldn't do the same level of speed session while barefoot. Perversely, the "protection" afforded by the sole of the VFF allowed me to hurt myself.

Since that time I've built up more slowly and can now do speed sessions - and hard distance sessiosn - in the VFF without hurting myself eg, 400m repeats in 70 seconds; a 20 km trail in 1 hour 17 minutes.

When I read of people injuring themselves in VFF, I find that it is almost always because they have pushed their feet too quickly beyond what the feet can handle. the message? Be patient, build up your mileage very slowly and do not underestimate just how weak your feet are nor how long it takes to build up their strength.



I got the stress fracture in my left foot shortly after changing my stride to land more on my forefoot. I was down for a few weeks with that injury. I later got tendinitis in my right foot after running on very tired and sore calf muscles which put too much stress on my foot. I then developed ITBS in my right knee running a very hilly half marathon where I overcompensated for my sore right foot. On the down hills I switched to a heavy heal strike to help reduce pressure on my foot but ending up putting all the pressure on my knees. That may have been the worst injury to date.

Recently I got my first pair of VFF Bikilas. I had been injury free for a few months and had increased my mileage to about 40 miles a week running with a good mid-foot/forefoot strike. I felt as though I could run in the VFF without any problems but I had yet to run in a true zero drop shoe. I ended up running about 11 miles in VFF in the first two weeks of having them. I never ran further than 4 miles in them but they ended up putting too much strain on my right Achilles. I am pretty sure that I was landing too far forward on my foot. I thought that my feet were strong enough to handle VFF but I really had no clue how week my feet actually were.

I actually just started running last March and I fell in love with it. Like most things I take an interest in, I became obsessed with running and pushed myself harder and faster than I should have. I know this is why I have been injury prone. It seems so simple to take things slow and gradual but I just enjoy running so much that I can't seem to help myself.

When the weather warms and the snow melts, I'm planning to start running on trails at least twice a week to hopefully reduce the stress put on my legs. Here is to an injury free Spring!


I've definitely got the sore calves and stiff achillies. Interestingly though my PF is getting a lot better. I'm using barefoot running as re-hab after a long injury lay off. Yesterday I took a chance and dropped my speed but banged up my distance. There is an adage amoungst may ultra disance road runners: "Distance before speed". Up until yesterday's run I'd been hovering around the 3 -3.5km mark. 5k was a different feeling. My muscles got the chance to warm up properly and my breathing settled down nicely. This was all on trail and sports fields so no hard surfaces

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