5 Tips for Pain Free Running: 1. Avoid Heel Strike

1.  Avoid Heel Strike

Many beginner runners ask me how they should be running.   Running training should be focused on 1 of 2 things:  1)  injury prevention or 2) performance.  So the main purpose of this post is to focus on injury prevention and treatment.  So I promote runners to avoid a heel strike and to try more of a mid foot strike when running with pain or recovering from an injury.    Landing with a midfoot strike has been associated with decreases in peak impact loads and a decrease in knee pain (patellar-femoral symptoms).  Below is a diagram from a breakthrough article in Nature   that shows landing forces with different striking patterns.

Notice the lack of the sharp increase spike with a mid foot strike.  One of the main points to take away from the article is the decrease in force and lack of transient impact with strike with a mid foot strike.  This difference and benefit of barefoot vs shod running is for another post, but these two articles show great evidence to help support a mid foot strike to help prevent injury and decrease impact forces to the legs.   I personally tried this and loved the way it feels when running vs with a heel strike. Tune in next week for Tip #2!!!  For more information about running injuries, our Running Injury Program, and about Pursuit Physical Therapy, call us at 407-494-8835 or visit us at PursuitTherapy.com. Exercise is medicine!


Ron Miller, DPT OCS

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