The health benefits of forefoot running are well-known in that forefoot running has the power to lower your risk of injury. Furthermore, combining forefoot running with minimalist shoes or running barefoot unlocks even more strength-reviving benefits than wearing regular cushioned running shoes.
Health Benefits of Forefoot Running
For years, doctors have advised injured runners to wear running shoes with more cushioning and arch support. However, this advice speeds the risk of more running injuries. Now, recent studies show a way to reduce the risk of getting injured when running which is to run with a forefoot strike.
To understand why forefoot running is better than heel strike running, lets look at the injuries forefoot running is known to prevent:
Tibial Stress Fracture – Better tibia alignment and reduced tibial accelerations.
Knee Joint Stress – Reduces peak knee stress regardless of having a long stride.
Hip Injuries – Turns the hips into a more passive area of shock absorption.
Achilles Overuse Injury – Naturally strengthens foot muscles, deflecting damaging-impacts away from the Achilles.
Heel Burning Pain – Protects the heel by taming the plantar pressures linked to heel pad deformation.
Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome – Eliminates nerve compression by reducing repetitive strain levels.
Patellofemoral Pain – Naturally reduces knee-joint reaction forces.
Hip Pain – Encourages 2 mechanical components that reduces hip loading.
Tibialis Anterior Pain – Dramatically reduces tibialis anterior activity.
ITBS – Reduces knee abduction moments, driving down strain on the IT band.
Achilles Tendon Tear – Eliminates high braking forces on the lower leg.
Bone Stress Injuries – Reduces wide-spread bone-deforming loading.
Lower Leg Pain – Reduces anterior intramuscular compartment pressure on the lower leg.
Patella Pain – Avoids knee extension at touchdown, especially when running barefoot on hard surfaces, such as pavement.
Lower Leg Compartment Syndrome – Promotes healthy foot/ankle positions, helping you avoid ground-collision forces.
Medial Calf Pain – Stimulates adequate impact absorption in the calves.
Lower Back Pain – Improves trunk flexion and axial rotation to deduct stress on the lower back.
As you can see, forefoot running is one of the best ways to avoid injury. However, the best way to power your forefoot running mechanics is having the understanding of what a forefoot strike looks like.
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BSc Neurobiology; MSc Biomechanics candidate, ultra minimalist runner & founder of RunForefoot. I was a heel striker, always injured. I was inspired by the great Tirunesh Dibaba to try forefoot running. Now, I'm injury free. This is why I launched Run Forefoot, to advocate the health & performance benefits of forefoot running and to raise awareness on the dangers of heel striking, because the world needs to know.