Running Mechanics and Injury Rates
Running is a great form of exercise. It is, however, a high-impact activity which can lead to injury. The ground reaction force exerted on the body is typically 2-2.5 times your body weight. There are various running styles with regard to foot placement when striking the ground including heel strike, midfoot or forefoot. The most common is the heel strike. However, a heel strike foot placement on the ground is associated with greater ground reaction forces sometimes as high as 3 times one’s body weight. A midfoot contact may significantly decrease the initial vertical ground reaction peak or impact transient, possibly reducing knee joint loads. However, it may increase mechanical work at the ankle and tensile stress within the calf muscles making them work harder. Initially one may experience more muscle soreness in the lower leg when switching to this type of running style. This increased soreness is typically temporary and will usually subside once the muscles accommodate to the new style. However, it should be noted that the most elite level runners do run with a midfoot style gait as it typically reduces injury rates and is more efficient in that it creates less of a “braking” mechanism and is more conducive to producing more forward momentum thereby also improving performance.
Foot Strike and Injury Rates in Endurance Runners: A Retrospective Study ADAM I. DAOUD1 , GARY J. GEISSLER2 , FRANK WANG3 , JASON SARETSKY2 , YAHYA A. DAOUD4 , and DANIEL E. LIEBERMAN