PainScience.com • Good advice for aches, pains & injuries

An inconclusive review of almost no data about running styles

updated

Tags: running, orthotics, overuse injury, IT band pain, patellar pain, plantar fasciitis, shin pain, exercise, self-treatment, treatment, foot, leg, limbs, pain problems, biomechanics, etiology, pro, devices, injury, knee, tendinosis, arthritis, aging

One article on PainSci cites Goss 2012: Does barefoot running prevent injuries?

PainSci notes on Goss 2012:

Can any running style or shoe type prevent running injuries? This is one of those reviews of a virtually non-existent literature. The authors speculate, as many others have, that styles and shoes probably involve risk trade-offs: less risk of one kind of injury, but more of another. But mostly the paper inevitably confirms that, as of 2012, there really is no hard data about this.

original abstract Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.

CONTEXT: Running related overuse injuries are a significant problem with half of all runners sustaining an injury annually. Many medical providers and coaches question how to advise their running clients to prevent injuries. Alternative running styles with a more anterior footstrike such as barefoot running, POSE running, and Chi running are becoming more popular. Little information, however, has been published comparing the mechanics and injury trends of different running styles.

OBJECTIVE: The original purpose of this paper was to examine evidence concerning the biomechanics and injury trends of different running styles. Little to no injury data separated by running style existed. Therefore, we discuss the biomechanics of different running styles and present biomechanical findings associated with different running injuries.

DATA SOURCES: English language articles published in peer reviewed journals were identified by searching PubMed, CINAHL, and SPORTDiscus databases. Nearly all of the studies identified by the search were observational studies.

RESULTS: A more anterior initial foot contact present in barefoot or other alternative running styles may decrease or eliminate the initial vertical ground reaction peak or "impact transient," possibly reducing knee joint loads and injuries. A more anterior foot strike, however, may increase mechanical work at the ankle and tensile stress within the plantarflexors. Wearing minimal footwear may also increase contact pressure imposed on the metatarsals.

CONCLUSION: More research is needed to determine which individuals with certain morphological or mechanical gait characteristics may benefit from alternative running styles that incorporate a more anterior initial foot contact with or without shoes.

This page is part of the PainScience BIBLIOGRAPHY, which contains plain language summaries of thousands of scientific papers & others sources. It’s like a highly specialized blog. A few highlights: