Injury Prevention Running Training

Better Running Form to Prevent Stress Injuries

Improving your running form can help you run faster, more efficiently, and with less stress on your body and reduced risk of injury.

Runners who land on the front of their foot have lower rates of repetitive stress injury than those who strike with their heel, according to new research from the journal Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise.

Researchers looked at the foot strike (the way the foot first makes contact with the ground) of 52 Harvard University cross-country runners and evaluated their history of running injuries. 59% of the Harvard runners were rear-foot strikers while 31% were forefoot strikers.

74% of the 52 runners had at least one injury per year. However, the rear-foot strikers were twice as likely to experience a repetitive stress injury. A possible explanation is that forefoot strikes create far less impact throughout the body (and bones) than rear-foot strikes, according to researchers.

How to Prevent Stress Injuries

If you find yourself constantly battling stress injuries, you may want to adopt a forefoot strike, Harvard University Skeletal Biology Lab director Daniel Lieberman, told the New York Times. But you need to make the transition slowly. Making the strike switch too abruptly can do the body more harm than good.

Land Midfoot

Don’t be a toe runner or a heel-striker. If you land on your toes, your calves will get tight or fatigue quickly and you may develop shin pain. Landing on your heels means you have overstrided and you’re braking, which wastes energy and may cause injury. Try to land on the middle of your foot, and then roll through to the front of your toes.

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