Is Heel Strike Bad for Running?

Is Heel Strike Bad for Running?

Heel strike running may cause a foot-ankle pain condition called tarsal tunnel syndrome which is a repetitive strain injury that occurs when the posterior tibial nerve (a nerve innervating deep within the calf and extends into the foot) becomes compressed (nerve entrapment), causing burning or tingling pain in the ankle, foot and sometimes the toes. The reason nerve entrapment can easily occur in the tarsal tunnel is because the area is highly fibrous and structurally inflexible, therefore there’s limited room for swelling if compartment pressure exceeds normal inside the tunnel. What causes compartment pressure to exceed tolerance in the lower leg and foot during running? The intensive impact forces and joint loading acting on the foot-ankle complex in heel strike running has been consistently found to cause lower leg compartment pressure to rise to pain-inducing levels as compared with forefoot running. 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

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