Exercise/Jog/Run Off Your Heels

By | March 4, 2014

Nearly 75%  of runners land on their heels. Joggers, runners, even walkers should not to land on their heels with great impact.  To prevent shin splints, ankle, knee, hip and back pain, all field athletes should try to land on the midfoot and avoid heel striking, especially in football, baseball and softball. In more enduring athletic efforts like soccer, rugby and distance running, landing on the flat foot, minimizing the intensity of heel contact protects the leg from destructive and compressive joint impact.  Players are victims of over striding. The angle of heel strike may be the physics problem we must solve.

Recent discussion suggests the need for firmer soles, based on the premise that running shoes offer too much cushion.  Changing your running style to foot flat or forward on the foot may take concentration, but improves the whole leg’s ability to absorb shock.  If you exercise on a treadmill, elevate the incline 5% to easily learn this technique, and perhaps instantly reduce your pain.

When you land on your heels, you are decelerating, or braking. Stay off your heels, and avoid slapping your feet. To run faster, lean forward, leading with your chin, holding your spine straight with core muscles. This puts the center of gravity in front of the planted, or stance leg. The more you lean, the faster you MUST move.run off your heels

Learning to run is well managed by speed coaches who help teach athletes to recognize inefficient running in others and to take responsibility for their own peculiarities. Some people say you can’t coach speed, but athletes with talent and horrible techniques are prime arguments to the contrary. Becoming stronger while the season progresses (with speed training and progressive weight training) are the key elements of our most famous success stories.

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About Paul O'Brian

CEO, Paul O’Brian founded Accelerate Physical Therapy , P.C. in 1989 in Arvada. Specializing in orthopedic and neurological rehabilitation over a 35-year career, Paul is experienced in shoulder, knee, spine, foot/ankle, elbow, wrist and hand rehabilitation, quadriplegia, hemiplegia, multiple sclerosis, weakness and balance issues, and geriatric conditions, arthritis, functional decline), postural pain an problems, sports injuries, motor vehicle accidents, and workers’ compensation injuries. As a youth sports coach for 20 years in swimming and diving, soccer, football and rugby. Paul has served on the Boards of Directors of three Colorado non-profit Colorado corporations: Colorado Physical Therapy Network (20 years), Rugby Colorado (5 years) and Tigers Rugby Football Club (14 years).