Sports therapist, Benita de Witt, answers:
I recently attended a workshop where it came across that biomechanical problems are seen as a given, and cannot be corrected. It was stated that scientific research has found that around 80% of runners have biomechanical issues and will most probably not be able to run barefoot without injuries.
One of the examples mentioned was overpronation. If an ankle overpronates, the connective tissue on the inner leg is normally overstretched compared to the connective tissue on the outside of the lower leg. This results in muscle weakness on the inside, which allows the ankle and foot to roll over. Overpronation is seen by most as a condition that can’t be corrected; for years affected runners have been put in antipronation or stability shoes and eventually in orthotics, and most of them are chronically injured.
I totally agree that while the connective tissue remains in the imbalanced position the overpronation will not change, despite corrective exercises.
However, research has proven that by releasing over-stretched as well as shortened connective tissue, the biomechanics of all areas in the body can be corrected. The athlete then trains in the neutral position, and eventually barefoot running can be approached without injuries.
It makes no sense to support bad biomechanics if the problem could be corrected by releasing connective tissue. Fix the runner, not the shoe.