Ankle stability, which is actively controlled by the peroneal tendon, is key in preventing peroneal tendinitis during running. Ankle stability however, hinges on sensory integration in the feet which is affected by plantar surface types (i.e. materials under the bare foot).
- A study by Bonnel et al. linked reduced active ankle stabilization to frequent ankle injuries, such as peroneal tendonitis.
Since thick shoe cushioning causes ankle distress, a forefoot runner can prevent an ankle peroneal tendon tear by wearing barefoot style running shoes instead of the traditional running shoe.
(Click here to learn more about barefoot style running shoes)
How Shoe Cushioning Destabilizes the Ankle
Ankle stability relies heavily on high levels of sensory integration from the bare foot, suggesting that cushioned running shoes impairs the ability of the peroneal tendon to compensate for ankle instability at the functional level (Konradsen, 2002).
How to Prevent Peroneal Tendonitis
Running barefoot or running in barefoot style running shoes provides a more stable plantar surface, thereby lessening peroneal workload when forefoot running.
- Barefoot conditions heightens firing of the proprioceptors that line the sole of the bare foot and this heightened proprioception is a signature for ankle stability (Konradsen, 2002)
The Take Home Message
The traditional running shoe is detrimental to ankle joint health and function because it leads to constant malpositioning of the foot during running, which in turn increases forces on the peroneal tendon, resulting in tendonitis.
Running barefoot or in barefoot style running shoes allows you to feel the ground with greater stability, therefore preventing repeated, high rapid movements of the ankle.
More From Run Forefoot:
Plantar Fasciitis – Find out whether forefoot running causes or prevents plantar fasciitis.
Shin Splints – Learn the biggest mistake heel strikers make when they switch to forefoot running, and how they end up with shin splints.
Why Run Forefoot – An overview of the enormous health benefits of forefoot running.
Forefoot Running Shoe Reviews – To run forefoot properly, we must first select the proper shoes. Here are my recommendations on running shoes best suited for forefoot running.
Why Vibram FiveFingers – Explore all the health benefits of the toe shoes and why they are the perfect running shoe for forefoot running.
Barefoot and the Spinal Cord – Learn how the spinal cord improves motor coordination as you run barefoot.
Bonnel F, Toullec E, Mabit C, Tourne Y (2010) Chronic ankle instability: biomechanics and pathomechanics of ligaments injury and associated lesions. Orthop Traumatol Surg Res
Fujii T, Kitaoka HB, Luo ZP, Kura H, An KN (2005) Analysis of ankle-hindfoot stability in multiple planes: an in vitro study. Foot Ankle Int 26(8):633–637
Konradsen L (2002) Sensorimotor control of the uninjured and injured human ankle. J Electromyogr Kinesiol 12(3):199–203
Ziai et al. Peroneal tendonitis as a predosing factor for acute lateral ankle sprain in runners. Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc, 2015. DOI 10.1007/s00167-015-3562-3
BSc Neurobiology; MSc Biomechanics candidate, ultra minimalist runner & founder of RunForefoot. I was a heel striker, always injured. I was inspired by the great Tirunesh Dibaba to try forefoot running. Now, I'm injury free. This is why I launched Run Forefoot, to advocate the health & performance benefits of forefoot running and to raise awareness on the dangers of heel striking, because the world needs to know.