Is Heel Strike Bad for Running?

Is Heel Strike Bad for Running?

The extent to which heel strike running may be a major risk factor for hamstring injury is that while the foot lands squarely on the heel, the knee usually fully unbends which directly causes the hamstrings to stretch to become too strained with tension. What’s worse is that this happens under high-impact conditions due to the heavy compressive wave caused by landing with a fully extended leg which results in a longer displacement between the initial foot strike position and the mass of the body. The net consequence of this is more compressive loads are transmitted to the hamstrings while they are locked in a hyper-stretched state at touchdown. In contrast, hamstring injury may be less likely in forefoot running because a smaller over-stride angle results at touchdown which may prevent the hamstrings from stretching beyond their maximum tolerable limit. Read more here!

Bretta Riches

"I believe the forefoot strike is the engine of endurance running..."

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.
Bretta Riches