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