Your running gait matters! Here’s why:
Forefoot and midfoot strike runners tend to have increased cadence while running, which means that their feet strike the ground more often. They also have shorter stride lengths, more knee flexion, and less ankle dorsiflexion.
THE BENEFITS OF THE FOREFOOT AND MIDFOOT STRIKING:
- A short stride length puts the center of gravity closer to the body, giving you more outstanding balance and stability.
- A faster cadence reduces overall loading, meaning that your feet don’t bear too much weight, decreasing injury.
- Together, these biomechanical changes should result in less impact damage. Also, with a forefoot strike, the calf muscles work harder, and this can reduce overall impact load; however, it can put a lot of strain on the Achilles, and that is sometimes a problem.
Knee strain is also reduced with a non-heel strike pattern of running. Because more muscles are engaged with a forefoot strike, the leg has more shock absorption with a forefoot strike than with a heel strike. Because the leg’s actions are more efficient with a midfoot or forefoot strike, the running’s metabolic demands are diminished, and the runner becomes more efficient - faster, with more endurance. This minimalist running pattern also takes advantage of the arch’s inherent capacity to store energy, which can also improve your time.
CHOOSE STRUCTURE OVER CUSHION
It has been shown that using arch supports weakens the foot over time and can lead to injury. Minimalist shoes usually do not have much arch support, which encourages your arch to self-support, making your arch stronger and bettering your overall foot health.
It has also been found that the cushioning found in the heels of most traditional running shoes do not reduce the risk of a heel injury. In other words, no amount of heel cushioning seems to make a difference when it comes to tibial stress fractures and plantar fasciitis.
Paradoxically, cushioning in a shoe can lead to problems like plantar fasciitis. Too much cushioning in the heel during impact can lead to excessive eversion of the heel and the midfoot’s excessive pronation. This strains the plantar fascia.
Cushioned shoes also require more work from the knee and hip. They tend to be heavier than minimalist shoes and because the added cushion creates a larger shoe that must be lifted higher to clear the ground during a running stride. This makes the possibility of a greater risk of injury to the knee with highly cushioned traditional running shoes.
Most of the minimalist running benefits are compelling but still theoretical as not enough studies have been done. Also, enterprising attorneys recently settled a class-action lawsuit against Vibram for claims they made about the benefits of the FiveFingers shoe they made, so it is essential to do your research and trust your own lived experience when choosing new running wear. It’s also not a bad idea to ask your physician or physical therapist for running shoe recommendations.
Some would say that minimalist running doesn’t eliminate injuries but simply changes the type of injuries. Nonetheless, many studies show significant benefits to merely changing the foot position during impact with running. The minimalist shoes simply accommodate a movement already afoot.
RELIEF WITH THE HEALING SOLE
When you finish a run, your feet need proper care to recover from any trauma experienced throughout activity. While the first step is to wear proper supportive footwear for running, the next is to provide them with TLC when you've gotten home.
The Healing Sole footwear can help to alleviate pain and tension that that has compounded during your run. Switch out of your tennis shoes and into a pair of our surgeon-designed flip flops to stretch out tight muscles and provide your feet with the right balance of cushion and support.