23 Tue

What’s the best running style?

What’s the best running style?

Written by: Paul Kochoa, PT, DPT, OCS, CKTP, CGFI

In the New York Times, there was an article I read about barefoot running.  It was similar to an older article back in March about barefoot running.  They both covered the trend of running style where runners would use very minimalist shoes or no shoes at all, and their type of foot strike.  I’ve written before about running with music, and its effect on your running cadence and ability to decrease injuries.  Depending on which running theory you subscribe to, either you agree with all of the above or you don’t.

The most recent NY Times article was about a new study comparing forefoot striking and rearfoot striking with runners using minimalist shoes and traditional running shoes.  The study investigated whether it was better to hit the ground with the heel or the front of your foot when you go running.  I’ve always believed that if you hit with your forefoot when running, you suffer from less injury and can run more efficiently.

Running is all about efficient movement.  If you run efficiently, you expend less energy and you can run longer with less fatigue and less stress on your body.  Interestingly, the study found that heel striking was more physiologically economical and used up less oxygen.  It pretty much goes against what barefoot or minimalist runners believe to be the more efficient running style.

So what’s the best way to run? In light of this new study, the answer isn’t so clear cut.  Granted, the size of the study was small and there are some holes in their scientific method and data, but the take home message is that one form of running doesn’t fit for everyone.  There are definitely some runners out there that shouldn’t be wearing a minimalist shoe, and there are some people that are fine running barefoot.  Everybody foot is different and you should pick a shoe or running style that fits for you and feels comfortable.  The best way to do that is have your running style analyzed and your foot posture and structure assessed.

Physiotherapists are great for that.  We are biomechanic experts, we look at and analyze movement every day.  If you have any nagging running aches or pains, we can help with that too.

If you have any questions or would like more information, please call Professional Physical Therapy and Training at 973-270-7417.  Our offices are located within the YMCA locations in Madison and Summit, NJ.  You do not need to be a member of the YMCA to visit with us.

Image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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