As a runner, you’ll hear a lot about how and why you should change your running technique. Maybe you heel strike and everyone else is starting to follow chi running and you want to try it out too. Perhaps you are getting knee pain while running and are looking for a fix. There are so many people telling you what to do, but what does the research say? In this article, we will look at 4 running biomechanics that may increase the risk of running injuries.
Is forefoot or heelstrike the answer?
There is some dispute on whether you should change your running technique. We see that runners who run more on the forefoot like Chi and Pose method will have more Achilles and calf injuries. On the other hand, patients who heel strike are more prone to knee pain. But what about people who never experience pain while running? What is the difference between these injury-free runners and those who feel pain?
In 2018, an article was released that assessed groups of healthy runners and runners experiencing patellofemoral pain, iliotibial band syndrome, medial tibial stress syndrome, or Achilles tendinopathy. The goal of this research was to see if there were any biomechanical differences between the pain-free and painful.
The results were almost as expected. They found that it wasn’t whether the patient was heel striking or forefoot striking to be the problem. Instead, the researchers found that there were problems that could happen no matter how your foot hit the ground. Runners with more pain landed with their knees straighter and had more ankle dorsiflexion (foot pointing up). When painful runners were in midstance (the runner is on one leg and in the lowest part of running gait), the contralateral hip dropped more and had more forward trunk lean.
If you look at runner A, you can see 3 out of the 4 characteristics of runners who were experiencing pain= forward trunk lean, straighter knee when landing, and increased dorsiflexion of the ankle. The image below shows the contralateral pelvic drop, the remaining characteristic of the painful runners.
It’s interesting to note that this article recorded that “for every 1° increase in pelvic drop, there was an 80% increase in the odds of being classified as injured.” That’s crazy! What we have found is that you don’t necessarily even need to change your running technique to fix this issue. Usually, a running aid is enough.
If you think you need to change up your running entirely because of pain, think again. As you can see 4 Running Biomechanics may increase the risk of running injuries, and forefoot striking are not among them.
Schedule a visit HERE to see how you can run pain-free.