Often times I hear people express concern over the type of foot strike pattern they incur while running. Although, knowing this information isn’t going to make or break you. I kinda look at it in the same manner as I do foot structure (Low arch, normal, high arch)… it’s not enough to tell us what’s going on but it’s more or less just a piece of a puzzle.
Foot strike is just one of the many variables that can and should be looked at during running. However, it’s not the only and likely isn’t the most important!
To start we can review the 3 types of foot strike
Rear foot strike
Mid foot strike
With a rear foot strike, ground contact is usually initiated at the heel.
With a mid foot strike pattern, ground contact is usually initiated around the metatarsal heads (otherwise known as the ball of the foot) before the heel comes into contact with the ground.
With the forefoot strike pattern, the initial contact is the same as a mid foot strike, but the heel doesn’t quite make contact on the ground.
What strike pattern is most common you may ask?
Most literature shows that almost 4 out of every 5 runners strike the ground in a rear foot pattern.
Strike pattern can be important when trying to reduce load to certain tissues in the body, or to change where previous load had been applied.
For example, If an athlete is beginning to reload after something like a bony stress injury to the tibia, a rear foot strike may result in considerably higher vertical loading forces, which can potentially aggravate or irritate the previously implicated region. In these cases adapting a forefoot bias may be more advantageous. But it is important to note that In some cases this can flare up a previously underloaded Achilles tendon or calf muscle complex.
With only three types of foot strike to pick from, determining foot strike seems to be relatively easy. Especially, when we hear how frequent a rear foot strike is. However, what's more important for you to understand as a runner is which tissues are experiencing changes in load and which tissues should be on high alert for your particular foot strike pattern. 🚨This is vitally important when you have been injured, or are returning to running after a lengthy delay!
Be sure to check out some of the offerings Better Performance Physical Therapy has! If you want to learn more about your running mechanics contact us to today to set up a Running Analysis. These offerings can be done both virtually or in person!