Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Foot Strike and Injury Rates in Endurance Runners

Of late, I feel like I've been sharing a lot of posts from the The New York Times's Well blog.   If so, its because they do a damn good job of staying on top of the latest scientific studies about running.

The latest study comes to us from Harvard University, where researchers reviewed four years' worth of data recorded by the long distance runners of Harvard's cross country and track teams.  The Times cites the study as finding that:
"About two-thirds of the group wound up hurt seriously enough each year to miss two or more training days. But the heel strikers were much more prone to injury, with a twofold greater risk than the forefoot strikers."
An abstract of the study is here.  It notes that heel strikers were more likely to incur repetitive stress injuries; there was no significant difference with regard to traumatic injuries.  Other factors contributed to repetitive stress injuries as well, including sex, race distance, and average miles per week.

I'd like to try to read the whole thing.  People are already citing it for all sorts of things, such as the proposition that barefoot running is best -- which is kind of funny since no barefoot runners were involved in the study.

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