Does Running Form Matter? New Study Finds Definitive Answer
New research from La Trobe University has finally answered the long-asked question regarding running form and whether it truly impacts injury recurrence, speed and flexibility.
In a bid to avoid shin splints, sore knees and other injuries, many runners have adopted a ‘toe-to-heel’ trend, running on the balls of their feet.
This is often encouraged by coaches and health professionals.
However, injury researcher and physiotherapist Dr. Christian Barton has found there is no evidence to suggest running on the front of your feet reduces injury risk or improves performance.
Dr Barton said: “We analysed 53 studies which looked at the impact of forefoot, rearfoot and flatfoot running patterns on injury, running economy and running biomechanics.
“Our comprehensive review suggests that telling someone to run on the ball of their foot instead of their heel may make them less efficient, at least in the short term.
“Additionally, there is no evidence either way on whether running on the balls of your feet reduces injury.”
Dr Barton said switching your running style shifts the body’s loads but doesn’t make them disappear.
He concluded: “Running toe-heel might help injuries at the knee, where loads are reduced. However, it may cause injuries to the feet and ankle, where loads are increased.
“Put simply, when it comes to running style: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”