Welcome to the Podiatry Arena forums

You are currently viewing our podiatry forum as a guest which gives you limited access to view all podiatry discussions and access our other features. By joining our free global community of Podiatrists and other interested foot health care professionals you will have access to post podiatry topics (answer and ask questions), communicate privately with other members, upload content, view attachments, receive a weekly email update of new discussions, access other special features. Registered users do not get displayed the advertisements in posted messages. Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free so please, join our global Podiatry community today!

  1. Have you considered the Clinical Biomechanics Boot Camp Online, for taking it to the next level? See here for more.
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Have you considered the Clinical Biomechanics Boot Camp Online, for taking it to the next level? See here for more.
Dismiss Notice
Have you liked us on Facebook to get our updates? Please do. Click here for our Facebook page.
Dismiss Notice
Do you get the weekly newsletter that Podiatry Arena sends out to update everybody? If not, click here to organise this.

Heel-Striking Running is More Energy Efficient Than Midfoot-Striking Running

Discussion in 'Biomechanics, Sports and Foot orthoses' started by Kevin Kirby, May 23, 2011.

  1. Members do not see these Ads. Sign Up.
    Here is some interesting computer simulation research done recently by Joe Hamill and colleagues at the University of Massuchusetts Department of Kinesiology that shows that heel-striking running is 6.2% more efficient than midfoot-striking running at 4.0 m/sec (6:42 mile pace). Heel-striking running required 15.9 W/kg of energy and midfoot-striking running required 16.9 W/kg of energy to run at the same velocity (Miller RH, Russell, EM, Gruber AH, Hamill J. Foot-strike pattern selection to minimize muscle energy expenditure during running: a computer simulation study. Proceedings of the American Society of Biomechanics Annual Conference. State College (PA); 2009.)


    This scientific study agrees with other scientific research which shows that Pose running (midfoot-forefoot striking vs heel-striking) also causes decreased metabolic efficiency in running (Dallam GF, Wilber RL, Jadeles K, Fletcher G, Romanov N: Effect of a global alteration on running technique on kinematics and economy. J Sports Sciences, 23:757-764, 2005).

    Here is some more interesting commentary on how Pose running is viewed by other PhD researchers.


    What is unfortunate about all of this is that I continue to see more and more running injuries being caused by people trying to convert to a midfoot/forefoot-striking versus their normal heel-striking running pattern due to being told that heel-striking running is bad for them. Is anyone else seeing this injury trend also in their runner-patients?

    Also, here are some of the comments I made on Podiatry Arena over 3 years ago which now seem to be supported by scientific research.

  2. I saw the heading and thought if this is a newsbot post Kevin will be very happy, but it seems you cut out the middlebot.

    Is there any research looking at natural forefoot strikers and then compair their energy usage when running with a heel strike ?
  3. All the "natural forefoot strikers' that I have ever seen had less than 10 degrees of ankle joint dorsiflexion with their knee extended so it would probably be less energy efficient for them to run as a heel striker unless they were in a running shoe with a heel lift. There is no research on this to my knowledge.

    Here are the illustrations from the paper on the forward dynamics research showing that heel-striking running was more energy efficient (Miller RH, Russell, EM, Gruber AH, Hamill J. Foot-strike pattern selection to minimize muscle energy expenditure during running: a computer simulation study. Proceedings of the American Society of Biomechanics Annual Conference. State College (PA); 2009).

    Attached Files:

  4. planger

    planger Member

    It seems that the running form debate, while it preceded the barefoot/minimalist debate, has certainly picked up steam recently. Many footwear manufacturers like New Balance, ecco, Newton, Merrill among others are all now posting information on their websites to "teach" us to run "better."

    Runners have never been more confused. First they were told that their shoes were over-engineered and now they are being told that they are running wrong.

    I explain to my patients that they will naturally run and walk in the manner which is most metabolically efficient and causes the least amount of discomfort for the given conditions. Anything they consciously do to alter their gait will increase the metabolic cost which will then lead to an earlier onset of fatigue. Our movement patterns are as unigue as our signiture so why in the world should we be expected to all run the same?

    I find it interesting that a lot of the same people who complain about over-engineered shoes are now over-coaching our runners.
  5. Admin2

    Admin2 Administrator Staff Member

  6. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator


  7. Paul:


    I agree with you completely....it's very refreshing for me to hear thoughts from another US podiatrist that parallel mine on this subject!:drinks
  8. planger

    planger Member

    Thanks Kevin and Craig. I have a feeling that the controversy on this topic will continue to grow.
  9. toomoon

    toomoon Well-Known Member

    Well Dr. Kirby,
    A big thank you! Here was I thinking I was the only one fighting a rearguard battle to bring scientific debate to this nonsense!
    First we had to deal with barefoot, and now the so called Minimalist running debate. It just gets sooo frustrating.
    What I find facinating however is that Joe Hammil was intimately involved in the NB minimalist project. A little bit of a pity they did not do this research BEFORE they designed the shoe.
    We (ASICS) are now working on a training shoe that is less structure and lightweight, but still offering stability and holding true to a rearfoot srike pattern design. I have based this on the premise that, no matter what is being said about technical running footwear, there is no evidence that it really 'aint broken, so we will tweak, but no need to fix. The inimalist movement works on the premise that by reducingheel height, i.e. the overall gradient,by maybe 6 mm, it induces a midfoot or een forefoot strike pattern. I have ot been able to identify one single piece of credible evidence to support this.. so.. we will stick to our guns.
    Once more the ether is thick with unsupportable nonsense.. pose, chi, toning barefoot, minimalist....when will it end?


  10. 21st October 2011 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harold_Camping

    Personally, I think it will really end on X-day, July 5th 1998 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_the_SubGenius
  11. toomoon

    toomoon Well-Known Member

    Hi Mike. I have just completed a study at the University of Staffordshire with Prof Nachi Chockalingham specifically looking at the kinematic and EMG differences that occured when changing from a rearfoot pattern to a midfoot and forefoot strike pattern. I will be presenting this at the International Society of Biomechanics Footwear meeting in Germany next month.
    We were unable to identify an statistically significant difference in either kinematics or muscle activation.
    I will post a summary of our findings shortly.
  12. toomoon

    toomoon Well-Known Member

  13. The rupture will come and at this time only the true believers will be taken up by the sex-goddesses.
  14. Great Simon look forward to having a read.
  15. Simon:

    On another note.....I'll lecturing in Manchester, UK in about four weeks and Pam and I will be spending a day or two in Liverpool doing a Beatles tour after the seminar. Wish you were there with your guitar and we could do some more Beatles duets again....those were good times!......:drinks
  16. toomoon

    toomoon Well-Known Member

    Yes they were.. bizarrely, while you are in Europe, I am criss crossing the USA. Bought a beautiul American Standard Strat while here.. would have worked nicely on Back in the USSR! Safe travels.
  17. Bruce Williams

    Bruce Williams Well-Known Member

    Will you be in Chicago and if so when?
  18. toomoon

    toomoon Well-Known Member

    I wish! Am stuck in Orlando.. not that that is bad...
  19. Bruce Williams

    Bruce Williams Well-Known Member

    Oh well, let me know next time you are passing thru! Sorry I won't be at ISB to see you then. Any chance you'll be at ASB in LA in August? My university, two undergrad students, and I had two abstracts accepted for presentation there on running shoe flexion and in-shoe pressure!
    If things go well I plan to go to I-fab in Sydney next year... Time will tell!
  20. DaVinci

    DaVinci Well-Known Member

    Hey Bartold, you "climate change denier": http://zero-drop.com/?p=2736

    Mine you I see that zero drop actually just calls you that and does not back it up with any evidence concerning the science. I guess its back to Payneis thread about barefooters telling so many lies about the science. No one has yet offered an explanation as to why they do that?
  21. Simon:

    It will only end when there are no more gullible people who believe all the BS that is being spewed about by opportunists like Chris McDougall and no more gullible people that will spend their hard-earned money to buy shoe products from shoe manufacturers that claim their shoe products are revolutionary, but have no credible research to back up their claims......in other words, this will never end......better get used to it!:drinks
  22. toomoon

    toomoon Well-Known Member

    At last!! My 15 seconds of fame.. woooohooo!
  23. physiocolin

    physiocolin Active Member

    Turning this subject around. Having spent many years treating soldiers, chronic shin pain was probably the most prevalent disabling overuse injury. Soldiers get used to running in squads at a controlled cadence and shortened stride length which means that they get used to mid/forefoot striking (even more necessary if carrying equipment); as squad running prevents striding out to achieve comfortable heel strike.
    The solution to their injuries was to get them reorientated back to rear foot striking.

  24. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.

    It finally got published:

    Economy and rate of carbohydrate oxidation during running with rearfoot and forefoot strike patterns
    Allison H. Gruber, Brian R. Umberger, Barry Braun, and Joseph Hamill
    Journal of Applied Physiology May 16, 2013
  25. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.

    Rearfoot Striking Runners Are More Economical than Midfoot Strikers
    Ogueta-Alday, Ana; Rodríguez-Marroyo, José Antonio; García-López, Juan
    Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: 30 August 2013
  26. Phil3600

    Phil3600 Active Member

    I'm not sure if anyone has ever come across this book before and it goes very much against the research posted in this thread but I didn't think it was worthy of a new thread. It is Gordon Pirie's book "Running Fast and Injury Free".

    I'm not sure when it was published but Gordon died in 1991 and I think it was a few years before. He was in the same running club as myself and that's where I got wind of it. It's very much about forefoot running good, cushioning bad, so-many steps per minute and while science has superseded much it the book from a historical point of view it's fascinating. He also describes how he developed running spikes with Adolf Dassler. Like I said it may have been on pod arena before but I did a search and couldn't find anything so sorry if it's duplicated.

    If Chris McDougall thought he was being original and revolutionary with Born to Run but this book was written at least 20 years before. Maybe it even influenced him, I'm not sure but there are a lot of similarities.

    It's in PDF and a free download (I don't think the book is actually available).


Share This Page