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Is a Heel Strike Pattern BAD for Runners?

Many runners have attempted to change their foot strike based on information that a HEEL STRIKE is BAD. I would like to clear up that myth with this post. Each heel stike has pros and cons. I recommend using what foot strike feels natural for you as this will be the most economical for your body. Whenever a biomechanical aspect of running is changed, the running economy decreases for awhile as your body learns a new task. This process also takes some time to be able to sustain for miles and miles. 

That being said, let's talk about foot strikes. The most common foot strike is the heel strike (~80% or more of all runners...yes that many) and then there are midfoot and forefoot strikers. A few years ago, it became known that heel striking can lead to bone injuries like stress fractures, shin splints and also knee pain. This is thought to be due to increased ground reaction forces that occur at impact. If the lower leg is unable to tolerate these forces, injury can result. It is crucial to have your body prepared through strength and mobility to prevent these forces from affecting you in a negative light. If those preparations are made and you have a good training program, your risk of injury reduces. 

Forefoot strikers are not free from injury at all. This type of pattern puts a lot more stress on the soft tissue strucutres (AKA muscles). The Achilles complex/tendon which is made of up the gastrocnemuis muscle and soleus muscle are the most commonly involved. It is paramount to make sure both of those muscles have the strength, power and endurance to load in such a way while running. Bear in mind, the foot and ankle joints can also become painful due to more impact in that area. It's all about having your body prepared, as much as possible, for the loads placed on them. 

Performative PT does offer strength plans as well as running plans speific for each runner. Please click HERE!! to schedule a call and discuss your options to improve your running starting TODAY!

Click the link below to watch the short video on these foot strikes. 

Is Running With a Heel Strike BAD for Runners?