Different people run in different ways, and there is no hard and fast rule for the best style of running. Each running strike pattern has its implications, and the debate on which pattern is more efficient for running is ongoing.
Analysing foot strike in runners is important in understanding the risk of foot and leg injuries in runners. So knowing how you run and the impact it has on your feet, ankle, and legs can help improve running form and avoid unhealthy movements that may lead to injuries.
Types of Running Strikes
Every person’s striking pattern is unique. Generally, however, there are three ways your foot contacts the ground:
Impact of Strike Patterns
A study by Ana Ogueta-Alday on forefoot and rearfoot runners concluded that while there are no significant differences between the two, the increase in contact time and decrease in flight time makes rearfoot runners more economical.
Forefoot runners are known to bend their knees when the foot strikes the ground, which causes the length and frequency of the stride to shorten.
If you have a foot posture problem, such as flat feet, the risk of overuse injury is higher. In such cases, it is best to have a foot specialist examine your feet, who may recommend orthotic use.
Orthotics and insoles such as MASS4D® can be beneficial in holding the foot in its corrected posture and reducing hyperextension that may cause injuries. This can lead to improvement in running form and ability.
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Reference: Almeida O. M., Davis S. I., Lopes D. A. (2015) Biomechanical Differences of Foot Strike Patterns During Running: A Systematic Review With Meta-Analysis. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy: August 2015, DOI: 10.2519/jospt.2015.6019
Reference: Ogueta-Alday A., Rodríguez-Marroyo A. J., García-López J. (2014) Rearfoot Striking Runners Are More Economical Than Midfoot Strikers. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: March 2014, Vol. 46, No.3, pp. 580-585
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