Not so fast — a paper that showed wearing Vibram FiveFingers (resembling foot gloves) “may help reduce running-related injuries” has been removed after the editors realized the first author is on Vibram’s advisory board.
Managing editor Noelle A. Boughanmi told us there’s no retraction here — the journal is just fixing the paper to address the relationship of podiatrist Nick Campitelli with the company featured in the article.
There is still a copy of the paper on PubMed, which suggests these “minimalist shoes” strengthen key muscles.
The paper was published online by the Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association. It was removed after editors realized that “the author did not fully disclose some involvement with the company,” Boughanmi said:
“Effect of Vibram FiveFingers Minimalist Shoes on the Abductor Hallucis Muscle” was indeed removed from our site after one of our editors brought to our attention that the author did not fully disclose some of his involvement with the company. The paper has not been retracted.
The way our online-early section works entails that papers may be taken down pending further edits or if a mistake is realized. When we realized that part of the paper was missing, we took the responsible step of removing it until the paper can be further edited.
Before the paper was taken down, blogger Craig Payne wrote a post titled “Vibram FiveFingers and muscle strength … umm, err…” The post criticizes several aspects of the experimental design and analysis, in addition to pointing out the missing disclosure. A post-script notes:
It did not take long for the journal to remove the publication after I wrote the [post].
We asked Boughanmi if Payne’s post had anything to do with the paper removal. She said that it did not:
The paper was taken down because of the missing disclosures. The Articles In Press section contains articles that have been peer reviewed and accepted; they are published online ahead of regular print publication. In this case, when we posted the article, one of our editors made us aware of the missing disclosures. We took down the paper to address the missing disclosures. The paper will be published with corrected disclosures in a future issue of JAPMA.
The blog from Dr. Payne had no bearing on our decision to take down the paper. We welcome healthy discussion and the author could address those criticisms in JAPMA if Dr. Payne decided to put his concerns into a letter to the editor.
We’ve contacted Campitelli, and will update if we hear back.
Campitelli’s personal website (“Dr. Nick’s Running Blog”) offers advice on shoes, gear and injuries. In response to a reader wondering which shoe is best, he makes a few suggestions:
- No elevated cushion heel
- A shoe should not be selected according to foot type (ie, high arch, flat foot)
- Soft, flexible, and able to roll up
There are many options available for what has been described above. Since the boom in minimalist running shoes occurred after the popularity of Vibram FiveFingers and Chris McDougall’s Born to Run, virtually every shoe company has introduced a minimalist shoe. We have even seen new shoe companies emerge such as Altra which recently passed Adidas in terms of sales of running shoes. The shoe should feel comfortable and allow your foot to move freely and natural. There should be plenty of room in the toe box for the toes to move. If the shoe store sales person says, “this is the shoe for you” and it doesn’t feel good, it’s not the shoe for you.
Hat tip: Craig Payne
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