Another study on foot strike pattern and running injuries

Guess what it found? We already know that the preponderance of evidence probably shows that there is no systematic differences in the injury rates when comparing heel vs midfoot/forefoot strikers or barefoot/minimalist vs shod when running.

Now we have this new study to add to that. The study is only in abstract form and is to be presented at the ACSM meeting next month:

Footstrike Patterns do not Influence Running Related Overuse Injuries in U.S. Army Soldiers
ACSM COnference; Friday, May 30, 2014
Bradley J. Warr, Rebecca E. Fellin, Peter N. Frykman, Shane G. Sauer, Donald L. Goss, Joseph F. Seay.
Advocates of barefoot and minimalist running have speculated that there is a relationship between footstrike patterns (FSP) and injuries. Specifically, they assert that forefoot and midfoot-strike (non heelstrike, NHS) patterns result in fewer injuries when compared to heelstrike (HS) patterns. The majority of civilian runners demonstrate a HS pattern, but there is minimal data on FSP distribution between sexes. There are no large studies evaluating differences in injury profiles between HS and NHS. Soldiers in the US Army run as a requirement of their chosen occupation. Due to high musculoskeletal injury rates in soldiers, a better understanding of the potential relationship between FSP and injury could be beneficial to the military services. PURPOSE: To characterize FSP distributions in soldiers, examine differences between sexes, and determine relationship between FSP and training related injury for male and female soldiers.
METHODS: 1027 soldiers (26.1± 6 y/o) from five different military bases participated. Each soldier ran through a designated lane at a typical training pace and then completed a survey about training habits and retrospective injury incidence. Two clinicians experienced with musculoskeletal injury classified reported injuries from the prior year as acute or overuse. Multiple footstrikes were recorded in the sagittal plane using a high-definition video camera. The association between FSP, sex and overuse injury (OI) were analyzed using Chi-square tests.
RESULTS: The majority of all Soldiers were HS runners (83% v 17% NHS), with no significant difference in FSP distribution by gender (female=232, 85% HS v 15% NHS; male=795, 82% HS v 18% NHS; p =.30). There was no significant difference in the reporting of at least one OI in the past 12 months (15% v 18%, p=.58) between NHS and HS runners. Although women more frequently reported OI than males (27% v 14%, p≤.001), FSP was not related to OI within either sex.
CONCLUSIONS: This large cohort demonstrated a similar relationship between FSP distribution and injury, regardless of gender. Self-reported OI did not differ between HS and NHS groups.

I have no more information on this study than what is presented in the above abstract. It just confirms and adds to what we already know.

As always, I go where the evidence takes me until convinced otherwise. and that is telling us there are no systematic differences in the injury rates when comparing heel vs midfoot/forefoot strikers or barefoot/minimalist vs shod when running

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2 Responses to Another study on foot strike pattern and running injuries

  1. Luke Nelson May 8, 2014 at 11:02 am #

    This seems to be a retrospective study, so surely the authors couldn’t claim any causal relationship between footstrike and injury??

    • Craig Payne May 8, 2014 at 9:31 pm #

      Yes it was retrospective. All that can be claimed is that there is no difference in injury rates.

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