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02/01/2021    Bruce Pinker, DPM

Consider Minimalist Shoes Before Going Completely Barefoot: NY Podiatrist (Dennis Shavelson, DPM)

When I saw this article quoting me, I immediately
emailed Dr. Barry Block, the editor of PM News,
asking for the source. I do not recall
communicating with the writer. The writer has
quoted me out-of-context from another article in
which I was quoted.

For the record, minimalist footwear and barefoot
running, when utilized and performed properly and
safely, can be very beneficial to the lower
extremity. It is a well-known fact that many
sneakers of the past few decades have been
criticized for adding unnecessary features that
can actually weaken the foot and prevent the
usage of muscles and tendons. Many individuals,
however, benefit greatly from modern running
shoes, and need to wear them in order to
exercise. Minimalist footwear is definitely not
recommended for everyone, but many minimalist
footwear runners swear by that which they wear on
their feet. Barefoot running can be dangerous,
and so it is not recommended for all unless they
can plan it out appropriately. This is what I've
always explained to my patients for many years.

Dr. Shavelson, your comments are particularly
accusatory. We don't know each other, so I
strongly suggest that you choose your language
more carefully in the future. Before you start
accusing me of "harvesting" surgical patients,
please consider the volumes of research regarding
the benefits of minimalist footwear and barefoot
running. Again, wearing minimalist footwear and
running barefoot is not recommended for everyone,
but it's highly beneficial for some. Perhaps, Dr.
Shavelson, you believe everyone should wear
orthotics? Supposedly, you're an expert in
orthotics, vis a vis your "Foot Helpers"
business? Perhaps you are trying to "harvest"
orthotics candidates?

Bruce Pinker, DPM, Pomona, NY

Other messages in this thread:

02/01/2021    Kevin A. Kirby, DPM

Consider Minimalist Shoes Before Going Completely Barefoot: NY Podiatrist (Dennis Shavelson, DPM)

Dr. Pinker is quoted in his interview (Editor's note: Dr. Pinker was misqouted; see previous note above) that being
barefoot "improves awareness of their (child's)
body in space", provides "better foot mechanics",
causes "improved mechanics of the hips, knees,
and body core", allows "stronger leg muscles,
supporting the lower back region".
Unfortunately, not a single one of his claims
have any research evidence to support them.

Dr. Pinker's unusual claims are basically the
same ones that Vibram FiveFingers made about
their shoes in their advertisements for their
shoes back in 2010 and later. Since Vibram had no
research support for their claims, and injuries
from wearing their shoes were starting to get out
of control, they settled their class-action suit
out of court in 2014 for $3.75m for the false and
misleading health claims they made for their
five-toed shoes.

In addition, the Barefoot Running and Minimalist
Running Shoe Fads, that began due to the biased
and unsupported claims about barefoot running and
thin-soled running shoes by Chris McDougall,
author of "Born to Run", caused a large uptick in
many running injuries. The unsuspecting runners
that got caught up in the media excitement about
these short-lived fads found out, the hard way,
that barefoot running and minimalist running
shoes, can and do cause injuries, invalidating
such claims that "better foot mechanics" results
from being barefoot or wearing thin-soled shoes.

I sincerely hope that the next time a podiatrist
is interviewed about the supposed benefits of
barefoot or minimalist shoes that they first do
their homework regarding the research on these
topics so that the public is not provided with
the unproven propaganda promoted by the barefoot
running and minimalist running shoe zealots. Our
job is to protect the public, not lead them
toward potentially injurious fads which have no
research evidence to support them.

Kevin A. Kirby, DPM, Sacramento, CA

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