The preponderance of studies on foot strike pattern and injury risk have shown that there are no differences. In terms of injury rates, they are the same regardless of the foot strike pattern. Yet despite that evidence, I fail to understand why there is still a debate and so much rhetoric on this. It is a manufactroversy (ie a manufactured controversy). Despite that it is always good when there is more research to add into the pot of that evidence.
I was perusing some conference abstracts that were just published in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and the one by Jennifer Soo Hoo et al from the University of Washington on Injury in Ultramarathon Runners and its Association with Foot Strike Pattern and Gait Characteristics obviously caught my eye.
This was an observational cohort study done during the 2013 Racing the Planet Iceland 7 day 250km ultramarathon. Of the 202 participants, half of them got an injury. The participants were videoed at stage 1 of the race to determine their foot strike pattern. Foot strike pattern was not associated with injury.
Of the factors they collected, only age was correlated with injury in males, with older runners less likely to get an injury (which is a bit of a surprise). For females there was an increased probability of injury with a longer stride length.
In the abstract, there was not much more information available that what I mentioned above in order to more thoroughly judge the quality of this study, so I do look forward to seeing it published in full.
As always: I go where the evidence takes me until convinced otherwise, and there are no differences in the injury rate between heel vs midfoot/rearfoot strikers’
Hoo, J., Krabak, B., Kasmer, M., Vandeleur, D., & Ciol, M. (2015). Poster 344 Injury in Ultramarathon Runners and its Association with Foot Strike Pattern and Gait Characteristics PM&R, 7 (9) DOI: 10.1016/j.pmrj.2015.06.380