Many runners think the solution to their injury problems is knee and ankle braces, but these forms of artificial support is a dangerous way to solve you running-related ailments.
Preventing running injuries requires a multipronged effort to tackle runners knee, hip pain and plantar fasciitis, to name a few. But, according to Chang et al. running injuries are unlikely to occur if knee orthotics, ankle braces and medial arch supports are not used while running, suggesting that the use of such external support devices may ill prepare a heel striker for forefoot running, or impose injury on a habitually forefoot striker.
Avoid Knee and Ankle Braces
The researches investigated the types of running injuries and their associated factors in 1004 runners who completed the ING Taipei Marathon. Even though foot strike pattern was not considered, their data showed that lower leg external support devices actually facilitated the spread of running injuries.
The researchers reported that marathoners who wore knee orthotics and ankle braces had higher rates of knee and ankle pain and those who wore medial arch support suffered multiple running injuries, also. These results suggest that external support devices change lower leg kinematics in a way that overloads and fatigues the lower leg musculature, and thus adds vulnerability to a forefoot running learner.
These findings offer a lens through which to more closely examine ways a newly transitioned forefoot runner can prevent running injuries. The underlying factor in this case are support aids believed to be safe, but have proven to have done little to reduce running injuries.
Therefore, to reduce susceptibility of running injuries, forefoot runners should run as natural as possible, particularly focusing on good knee flexion and ankle plantar flexion at touchdown as these strategies work better at protecting painful ankle and knee joints during running.
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Chang et al. Running injuries and associated factors in participants of ING Taipei Marathon. Phys Therp Sport, 2012; 13:170-174
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.