Archive for August, 2011

Solihull Running Injury Clinic Podiatrist debates Runners Technique

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

Heel strike or Midfoot strike discussed by Solihull Sports Podiatrist Peter Taylor.  www.runninginjuryclinic.co.uk

The recent trend for runners to attempt to alter their running style would seem to be causing as many injury problems as it professes to save. During the past 12 months or so, here in the Atlas Running Injury Clinic in Solihull Birmingham, we have seen an increasing number of lower limb injuries (generally calf or achilles tendonitis) arising from runners deciding to, or being advised to change their natural running style from heel strike to mid or forefoot strike.

For a good while now, many running ‘experts’ have been preaching that running with a heel strike is the cause of many injuries, and is a less efficient way of running. Trying to come up with any scientific evidence to support this theory proves to be very difficult and as world renowned Sports Podiatrist and Biomechanist Kevin Kirby quotes. “I’m sure that some runners will run better with instruction to strike forefoot first, but most of the studies that have looked at running efficiency seem to indicate that the greatest metabolic efficiency for a runner is at their self selected stride”.

So does it not make sense that a runner will naturally find his/her most efficient style of running with increased training and experience rather than altering their style. When injury free, your body will naturally move in its most metabolically efficient manner. Consciously attempting to alter that will lead to an increase in metabolic cost and an earlier onset of muscle fatigue.

Research suggests that around 85% of runners are heel strikers. As speed increases, most runners will change from heel to midfoot strike and then forefoot strike when sprinting – again a natural adaptation to gain efficiency. But, for the majority of long distance runners out there training at a slower pace, mid foot striking is not a natural style of running. Therefore, heel striking is a more efficient, pain free way to run.

More running injuries are being seen by our physiotherapists because of runners attempting to alter the natural way they run.  look at our very own marathon champion Paula, how many people have suggested she should stop the head nodding I wonder?  Leave her alone and if things are not broken, stop trying to fix it!

 

Advice on running injuries can be obtained by visiting the website or booking an appointment at our Birmingham or Tamworth running injury clinic 01827 59943