Home > Blog > Foot Strike Vs. Heel Strike: What’s Your Style?

an Running on TrackRetiring is commonplace among athletes.  In fact, some of them do it multiple times.  However, elite marathoner Deena Kastor gave what could be taken as sage advice.  She stated that she would never publicly retire even though she has no immediate plans for competitive racing.  Her love for the sport might entice her back into competition just as the passion for running drives many to critique and tweak their form.

There is a long-standing argument regarding foot strike and its role in performance and injury prevention. It’s a classic multiple choice test:  forefoot strike, mid-foot strike or heel-strike.  Where does your foot first hit the ground when you run?

Striking with the heel is considered to be the least efficient of the three options because your energy is spent on a longer-than-necessary stride.  Form also comes into question here, but not all of the news is bad.  This type of foot strike does keep the muscles in the calves well-stretched, which also benefits the body’s largest tendon—the Achilles.  

Forefoot striking is the antithesis of heel striking which makes sense—they are literally on the opposite ends of the foot spectrum.  Hitting toes first means that the calf muscles do not release and the Achilles tendon is in danger of injury due to overuse.  However, you will likely see your speeds increase and less impact on your ankles and your knees.  

The mid-foot strike seems to be the middle ground in terms of stress on the feet and ankles.  Speed runners are known to utilize this strike and keeping the feet close to the body is the most efficient way to run.  Proponents of minimalist running believe that traditional running shoes inhibit the foot’s natural tendency to hit the ground in this way.

Keep in mind that changing your foot strike will impact your entire body, so take it slowly. Chiropodist Tony Abbott’s passion for running means that you’ll find answers to your foot concerns and how they impact your goals.  Make an appointment today at the Collingwood, ON office today by calling (705) 444-9929, or you can schedule online.

Photo Credit: Toa55 via FreeDigitalPhotos.net