Are certain footstrikes better for your body?
Two studies suggest that a forefoot strike may decrease chance of injury
We wrote yesterday about the huge percentage of heelstrikers in the running world and the hypothesis that forefoot- and midfoot-striking can help avoid injuries.
Well, now we have numbers.
A new study from the U.S. Army Medical Department Journal compared running tendencies, footstrike patterns and injury history among three groups of runners: people who ran barefoot, people who ran with minimalist shoes and people who used traditional athletic shoes.
The researchers found that shoe selection had a high correlation to footstrike. Barefoot and minimalist runners were much more likely to use a forefoot strike than people in traditional shoes. The runners with traditional athletic shoes were also almost 3.5 times more likely to get injured than experienced minimalist shoe wearers.
Although the correlation between footstrike and injury was not proven in this study, the stats are particularly interesting when taken in conjunction with an earlier study at Harvard University.
The Harvard researchers looked at the footstrike- and injury-history of middle- and long-distance runners from a collegiate cross-country team and found that “runners who habitually rearfoot strike have significantly higher rates of repetitive stress injury than those who mostly forefoot strike.”
While more and larger studies are needed for conclusive evidence, the information so far does align and may suggest an interesting pattern between footstrike and injury rate.