For those enthusiastic runners, there’s always way of improving your performance, endurance and strength. However, there has been a great deal of blogs and forums that persuasively encourages runners to contemplate a forefoot strike to pick up that extra speed. So, is changing footstrike pattern beneficial to runners? Here is the evidence based literature shared by our biomechanicalist and podiatry running expert Craig Payne.

Some researchers, running instructors, and coaches have suggested that the “optimal” footstrike pattern to improve performance and reduce running injuries is land using a mid/forefoot strike. Thus, it has been recommended that runners, who use a rearfoot strike, would benefit by changing their footstrike although there is little scientific evidence for suggesting such a change. The rearfoot strike is clearly more prevalent. The major reasons often given for changing to a mid/forefoot strike are: 1) it is more economical; 2) there is a reduction in the impact peak and loading rate of the vertical component of the ground reaction force; and 3) there is a reduction in the risk of a running-related injuries. In this paper, we critique these 3 suggestions and provide alternate explanations that may provide contradictory evidence for altering one’s footstrike pattern. We have concluded, based on examining the research literature, that changing to a mid/forefoot strike does not improve running economy, does not eliminate an impact at the foot-ground contact, and does not reduce the risk of running-related injuries.

Quoted by Craig Payne following this research: As always, I go where the evidence takes me until convinced otherwise …. and that evidence shows: “that changing to a mid/forefoot strike does not improve running economy, does not eliminate an impact at the foot-ground contact, and does not reduce the risk of running-related injuries.

So, there you go. Evidence shows that sticking to your natural striking pattern may be best. If you have any questions about running or would like to learn more regarding this topic, call us at (02) 6293 2024 or alternatively email us at info@brindabellapodiatry.com.au.
References:
1. Hamill, J., & Gruber, A. (2017). Is changing footstrike pattern beneficial to runners? Journal of Sport and Health Science DOI: 10.1016/j.jshs.2017.02.004
2. Payne, C. (2017). Is changing footstrike pattern beneficial to runners?

Written by Lydia Kim.

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