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Updated by Jamie de Sylva on Jun 03, 2014
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New research for runners on the 'heel-striking myth'

What interesting new research tells us about running, heel-striking and injuries


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise

Purpose: This retrospective study tests if runners who habitually forefoot strike have different rates of injury than runners who habitually rearfoot strike. Methods: We measured the strike characteristics of middle- and long-distance runners from a collegiate cross-country team and quantified their history of injury, including the incidence and rate of specific injuries, the severity of each injury, and the rate of mild, moderate, and severe injuries per mile run.

Shod Heel Strike Running with Force - Close-Up, Slow Motion

This is the ground reaction force generated when heel strike running in shoes. Notice that this force trace has the impact transient characteristic of heel strikes (a nearly instantaneous, large force experienced at impact when heel striking). Shoes do reduce this impact force when heel striking, but does not eliminate it.

Another study on foot strike pattern and running injuries

Guess what it found? We already know that the preponderance of evidence probably shows that there is no systematic differences in the injury rates when comparing heel vs midfoot/forefoot strikers or barefoot/minimalist vs shod when running. Now we have this new study to add to that.