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Meb Keflezighi Heel Strikes His Way to a 2:09 Boston Marathon

Discussion in 'Biomechanics, Sports and Foot orthoses' started by Kevin Kirby, Apr 28, 2011.

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    I'm getting so tired of the "experts" telling people that heel striking causes too much impact forces and causes injuries and that people should be running as midfoot or forefoot strikers that I decided I need to show some evidence that heel striking running can be a very fast and efficient way and injury free way to run.

    Here is a photo of Meb Keflezighi at the 17.5 mile mark of the 2010 Boston Marathon where he ran a 2:09 marathon (4:55 mile pace for 26.2 miles). As you see, Meb, one of the USA's best marathoners, is clearly a heel-striker at this pace, just like 74.9% of other elite runners (Hasegawa H, Yamauchi T, Kraemer WJ: Foot strike patterns of runners at the 15-km point during an elite-level half marathon. J Strength Cond Res, 21:888-893, 2007).


    Why then do elite runners overwhelmingly decide to heel strike, rather than midfoot and forefoot strike during distance races? What do these elite runners know that seem to be forgotten by the slower barefoot runners who utilize a chopped-stride running style? These elite runners know that if they heel strike that they will have a longer stride length which means a faster running speed for a given stride frequency. Barefoot runners must chop their stride which slows them down horribly in races and prevents them from being able to keep up with the heel-striking runners that can take longer strides since they wear shoes which protect their heels. As a result, shod runners are "beating the socks off of" the barefoot runners in overwhelming fashion. When was the last time you saw a barefoot runner (running the whole race barefoot) come in the top 1% of a international level distance race? Either the barefoot runners are getting injured so much by running barefoot so that they can't compete on race day or their chopped-stride running style is just too slow to keep up with the elites. These are certainly factors that a reasonable person might conclude from the lack of barefoot runners who currently compete at the elite level of distance racing.

    A barefoot running revolution?.......not any evidence of that at the elite competition level of distance racing from what I can see.....

    Attached Files:

  2. Griff

    Griff Moderator

    Here's a nice video of Desiree Davila at this years Boston Marathon just a few weeks ago (in 3rd position in this video but finished 2nd overall):

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 22, 2016
  3. Great video, Ian. Thanks for that!:drinks

    I'm tired of heel-striking runners being belittled by the "experts" who say that heel-striking runners only have "collison forces" and their ill-conceived conjecture that this type of running, which is done by the vast majority of elite and slower runners, is the cause of all running injuries.

    In fact, there are now six scientific studies on barefoot vs shod running that show that barefoot running causes increased impact loading rates versus shod running, with three of these scientific studies being published in the Journal of Biomechanics (1. Dickinson JA, Cook SD, Leinhardt TM: The measurement of shock waves following heel strike while running. J Biomech, 18:415-422, 1985. 2. De Koning J, Nigg B: Kinematic factors affecting initial peak vertical ground reaction forces in running. In Abstracts of the XIVth Congress of Internat Symp of Biomech, Paris, France, 1993. 3. De Clercq D, Aerts P, Kunnen M: The mechanical characteristics of the human heel pad during foot strike in running: an in vivo cineradiographic study. J Biomech, 27:1213-1222, 1994. 4. Stockton M, Dyson R: A comparison of lower extremity forces, joint angles, and muscle activity during shod and barefoot running. Proc. 16th ISBS, pp. 251-254, 1998. 5. De Wit B, De Clercq D, Aerts P: Biomechanical analysis of the stance phase during barefoot and shod running. J Biomech, 33:269-278, 2000. 6. Freedman JA, Dufek JS, Mercer JA: Kinetic characteristics of barefoot running. North Amer. Congress of Biomech, Ann Arbor, MI, August 2008.). What about the "collisions" that the barefoot runners make with the ground causing these scientifically verified increased impact loading rates....why aren't any of the barefoot advocates talking about these studies? Because the truth would hurt their cause!!

    There is simply no evidence that running injuries are just occurring in heel-striking runners....it is pure conjecture with no research evidence to back it up. It would be like saying that running injuries are being caused by socks and that those runner who wear socks while running get injured because of their socks....yes there is a correlation.....but only because nearly everyone who runs also wears socks! Bring on the "experts"!!!:butcher:
  4. Dana Roueche

    Dana Roueche Well-Known Member

    Clearly not enough information to draw conclusions. What foot strike pattern is used by the other top 200 finishers in Boston? What model shoe are the other top 200 wearing? Is there is a relationship between heel to toe height differential and foot strike? The two examples appear to show runners in shoes with rather high, cushioned heels. What is their injury history? What is the injury history of the top 200 runners? Is there a relationship between the shoes they race in and injury rate? Is there a relationship between the shoes they train in and injury rate? What does the practice of the top handful of runners in a race have to do with the running masses?

    These questions are impossible to answer from the information provided.

    In spite of not being medically qualified, it clearly isn't necessary to know that conclusions like the ones given can't or be drawn from a snap shot and a 30 second video. There certainly isn't enough information to convince anyone of anything or to lead someone to jump to conclusions.

    Just another example of straying from the scientific process and no different from what the barefoot advocates are being accused of. The kettle is calling the pot black.

    Besides, this horse has been dead for over a year.

  5. Ian:

    Dirk DeClercq, a PhD biomechanist, who I met and spoke to at length when Craig and I lectured together in Ghent, Belgium in March 2007, has been the leading researcher over the past decade on the biomechanical effects of barefoot running. Here is another one of Dirk and coworkers' excellent papers on barefoot running regarding the deformation of the plantar heel adipose pad with barefoot vs shod running (De Clercq D, Aerts P, Kunnen M: The mechanical characteristics of the human heel pad during foot strike in running: an in vivo cineradiographic study. J Biomech, 27:1213-1222, 1994).

    They found that the heel fat pad is deformed to maximal deformation of 60.5% in barefoot running vs 35.5% in shod running. I liked this quote from their paper:

    “Although amplitudes of vertical GRF do not differ noticeably in both conditions, BF running implies a maximal deformation to the fatty heel tissue, reducing its functional role from shock reduction towards local protection of the heel bone.”
  6. BEN-HUR

    BEN-HUR Well-Known Member

    Then we have the men...

    Mosop (black vest - finished 2nd) is definitely a forefoot runner (at least in these frames); Mutai (green vest & winner) has a footstrike further back (midfoot?)...

    ... next, Gebremariam (green vest - 3rd) seems to be a midfooter; Ryan Hall (blue vest - 4th) is a bit harder to tell - pretty much 'flat' in these frames...

    Then there is Kara Goucher (5th female) who is definitely a heel striker in these frames...

    I believe Kara is coached by Alberto Salazar who has an interest in foot strike. I wonder if he has talked to Kara about this?
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 22, 2016
  7. Dana Roueche

    Dana Roueche Well-Known Member

    Matt, thanks! Interesting fact about Kara Goucher, she has been plagued by injuries her entire running career. She was completely gone from the running scene from 2000 to 2007 because of injury. Prior to 2000, she ran the the University of Colorado and she was plagued by injuries for big parts of her college career as well. For the short windows that she is healthy, she is an incredible runner.

    The post that started this thread is so poor on so many levels I don't even know where to begin. Just to point out a few things, the current discussion about foot strike has to do with it's relationship to injury rate. By using a single snapshot of a single runner of a single stride in a single race, then trying to make inferences about injury rate and that it is common that elite athletes are heel strikers is ridiculous.

    Matt, you easily demonstrated that elite athletes also forefoot and midfoot strike. Ironically, the example you used of a clear heel striker Kara Goucher is also clear example of high injury rate. Is there a connection? I don't think we can make the inference from the data we have but it certainly is a strong coincidence.

    The initial post references a study that found that 74.9% of the runners in a specific race at a specific location were heel strikers. I'm not sure anyone would argue that there is a high propensity for heel striking in runners. That is not the point of the discussion. Assuming a high propensity for heel striking, I also don't think there is anyone that would argue against the fact that there is a high propensity for injury amongst runners as well. hmmm..... high incidence of heel strike - high incidence of injury. I won't fall into the same trap of drawing conclusions without data. Lets just say that there are a lot of injured runners who heel strike who wear traditional running shoes with large cushioned heels that encourage heel striking. Draw your own conclusions.

    It is my understanding that it has not been demonstrated that there is a relationship between injury rate and type of foot strike. Based on the first post in this thread, it doesn't seem like everyone knows this. At some point, someone may demonstrate and prove a relationship but for now, anyone who chooses to argue one type of foot strike is healthier over another is simply blowing smoke.

    Since there are so many variables that influence foot strike, I would hypothesize that the best foot strike for a runner to use is the one that is consistent with the variables influencing it. Forcing a particular foot strike against the variables that influence it may cause more trouble than what is trying to be prevented. I would also infer that too much of any one thing usually implies less than favorable results. Therefore, it might be healthiest to routinely or periodically change the variables that influence foot strike and change the foot strike to be consistent with those variables. By changing foot strike patterns naturally along with it's influencing variables, you are building in moderation. When it comes to health and injury, moderation is often a good thing.

    What I find really interesting about the Podiatry Arena is how selective many of the contributors are when it comes to countering a given post. That selectivity appears to be based on the author of the post. If I was the author of the post that started this thread, I would have been eaten alive by many people on this forum. Since the post was made by the forum's "Most Valuable Poster" people seem to let it slide. Just an observation.

  8. Dana:

    Maybe I am mistaken and you do have some qualifications that should make us actually pay attention to what you are saying here on Podiatry Arena, an academic forum that is meant for medical professionals that treat foot and lower extremity injuries. Please, for those who are following along, list your academic degrees, papers you have written, book chapters you have authored, lectures you have given and years of medical practice in the biomechanics and treatment of running injuries.

    We are all patiently awaiting for your response since many of your postings seem, to many of us, as if you writing with great authority. What significant authority do you have as an academic or medical professional here on Podiatry Arena? Or are you just a runner who has run for 40+ years, has no medical training, works for a computer company, has over 17 pairs of running shoes and likes minimalist running shoes?
  9. Dana Roueche

    Dana Roueche Well-Known Member

    Kevin, I have regrettably already established that the last 35 yrs have been spent on formal degrees, papers, lectures and analysis are not in the field of running and running injuries.

    Given that, I would think you would find it embarrassing to have a lay person such as myself easily point out the fact that you started this thread with a post that clearly missuses limited data to desperately support a weak opinion about foot strike and injury rate. What is more embarrassing is that even a lay person knows that there is no supporting evidence to indicate a direction of injury rate and foot strike.

    Kevin, I honestly don't understand how someone with your background can repeatedly write posts to an academic forum meant for medical professionals that constantly have me questioning whether you really get it or not. I am sorry but I simply don't need a medical degree to know when someone is blowing smoke.

    It's probably time for me to do something more productive with my time. I'm not getting much out of what is being said here, that's for sure.

  10. Dana:

    I honestly don't understand how you can continue to post here with seemingly great authority when you have none. Not even a shred of authority. You don't have a clue what it is like to be a podiatrist or to be a medical professional. You have no degrees, no papers, no book chapters, no books and have not even given one lecture that relates to sports medicine and biomechanics. You have never treated even one patient, other than yourself, for foot and lower extremity injuries. Yet you continue to go on about yourself, your running, your running shoes and your data points like we actually care here on this academic forum meant for medical professionals. You act like you actually have some real academic credentials on the subject, but, sadly, you have nothing.

    Life is too short to continue to deal with your BS.

    Happy running.
  11. Dana Roueche

    Dana Roueche Well-Known Member

    Kevin, it's pretty obvious that you are avoiding your own discussion that you started about heel striking and injury causing impact forces. Nothing new, when you are confronted about statements you've made that you can't support, you follow the same formula, change the subject. My background has nothing to do with the subject of this thread, you know that and I know that. What's worse is that a lay person has the audacity to question the Podiatry Arena's most valuable poster.

    I would tell you to prove me wrong and address the questions I have asked about your analysis in the first post but we know you can't so I'm not going to bother reading this crap any more.

    If you really think you are pulling anything over on your colleagues, you aren't. I'm sure they have chosen to be silent to spare you the embarrassment. We all know the emperor is not wearing any clothes, no need to point fingers.

    I would wish you happy running as well but as you mentioned a while ago, you are not doing a lot of running these days. Remembering that helps me understand your obvious disconnect with the current running shoe industry. You simply don't have a big need for running shoes so why would you know about the industry?

    There is a philosophy about running that I firmly believe in. I can't remember whose it is or how close I can capture it but in spirit I have the intent. As a runner, you are only as good as how you can perform today. What you have done in the past is in the past. Today and possibly tomorrow is what matters, yesterday is only a memory.

  12. David Wedemeyer

    David Wedemeyer Well-Known Member

    Dana I mean no disrespect but your emotional response to every single post that threatens your singular interest in one method and style of running unshod is very telling. You are obviously educated, intelligent and can grasp at some level this topic but what others are trying to point out is that there is no evidence that barefoot running is a better method and that for many it is fraught with injury. Keep in mind that your detractors are trained in podiatric medicine and biomechanics (among other fields ) and treat patients with sports injuries (many resulting from these fad training methods btw). The point is that they see these types of injuries daily in clinical practice and have a large base of evidence to draw conclusions from while your experience is pure conjecture.

    The majority do not advocate barefoot running or forefoot striking and without redundantly ejaculating the same arguments and evidence against (such as terrain and the protective mechanism of appropriate footwear) you have not convinced a single person that this is not the case. I admire your zeal but have to question your motive for continually taking it on the chin when so many educated people who are in the trenches as they say, disagree wholeheartedly with you.

    You're participating in an academic forum but one does not need to be an academic to portend the inherent risks in fads such as barefoot running and forefoot striking for a large number of the population. How do I know this? From histories and examining so many of them myself, live cases of people who have taken up the above only to now be sitting on the sideline healing from myriad injuries that could have been prevented if the opinions of more professionals who actually examine these injuries were available to them. That is fact. I do not see that you are doing anyone a service by trivializing health care to it's lowest common denominator; an uneducated and inexperienced opinion. Yours.

  13. Here's something I find interesting. Why is strike position seemingly related to forward velocity? That is, when shod most people heel strike when walking and as the forward velocity increases to a full sprint many will transition to a forefoot strike pattern. Why does this occur?

    The transition from walking to running has been studied quite widely. Has anyone studied the strike characteristics during shod running to sprinting transitions?

    I got this: http://www.asbweb.org/conferences/2005/pdf/0037.pdf

    And this: http://www.asbweb.org/conferences/2003/pdfs/144.pdf
  14. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8945650
  15. Simon:

    Thanks for getting us back on track to something more interesting and useful.:drinks

    Some of the earliest running biomechanics literature has noted that footstrike during shod running in nearly universally on the rearfoot in slower running and progressively moves toward the midfoot at intermediate speeds and to the forefoot in sprinting (Novacheck, Tom F.: The biomechanics of running. Gait and Posture, 7:77-95, 1998). Of course this is individual-dependent and shoe dependent. Some individuals will select the rearfoot striking gait even at a very fast run while other individuals will select the forefoot-midfoot striking gait at relatively slow running speeds.

    From the thousands of runners I have examined over the past 25+ years who exhibit the various types of footstrike pattern, I am convinced that this self-selection process of footstrike pattern is related to the amount of passive ankle joint dorsiflexion the individual has with their knee flexed (i.e. ankle joint dorsiflexion stiffness). Invariably when I examine a runner with less than 5-10 degrees of passive ankle joint dorsiflexion with the knee flexed, they will tend to be a midfoot or forefoot striker. There seems to be no correlation to ankle dorsiflexion with the knee extended, probably because, during running, the knee is flexed at footstrike.

    This area is ripe for research and I think, when this research is finally done, will show that the clinical measurement of ankle joint dorsiflexion with the knee flexed quite nicely explain a good part of the neuro-mechanical process of what determines whether an individual self-selects to be either a rearfoot or midfoot or forefoot striker at various running speeds.
  16. But what is the advantage of this? Why should the extra forward velocity necessitate a forefoot strike?

    Does a forefoot strike, lengthen the leg spring and decrease the leg stiffness?

    Nice simple analysis of strike position in horses, here.
  17. It is probably related to the decrease in time spent in the support phase for sprinting and due to the central nervous system optimizing the support phase mechanics to generate as much force from the foot for the least metabolic energy expended. However, I'm not sure on this one since I don't think this research has been done yet. However, faster running speeds do generate greater ground reaction forces (Weyand PG, Sternlight DB et al: Faster top running speeds are achieved with greater ground forces not more rapid leg movements. J Appl Physiol, 89:1991-1999, 2000). Maybe, as we run faster, the tradeoff of increased metabolic energy is worth the extra GRF generation the foot can do as we move into a forefoot striking position?
  18. Simon:

    It is probably related to the decrease in time spent in the support phase for sprinting and due to the central nervous system optimizing the support phase mechanics to generate as much force from the foot for the least metabolic energy expended. However, I'm not sure on this one since I don't think this research has been done yet. However, faster running speeds do generate greater ground reaction forces (Weyand PG, Sternlight DB et al: Faster top running speeds are achieved with greater ground forces not more rapid leg movements. J Appl Physiol, 89:1991-1999, 2000).

    Maybe, as we run faster, running more on the forefoot allows us to generate the maximal ground reaction force in a shorter duration of support phase which will help us increase stride frequency and stride length to maximize running speed. Heel striking running, since it is generally done below the anaerobic threshold in trained runners, is probably a more economical way to run metabolically for shod runners. Therefore, the increased duration of support phase in heel striking running is probably chosen as more of an energy conservation measure by the majority (80%) of shod runners with the goal being to generate the minimum power over a given period of time rather than the forefoot striking method that is chosen in sprinters who are running anaerobically with the very different goal of generating maximum power in the shortest time period of time (i.e. with much less regard to metabolic efficiency).

    In other words, the different metabolic efficiency vs energy expended goals of different running velocities may be a big part of why nearly all shod individuals will run on their heels first when running slower and run more toward their forefoot when running faster.
  19. BEN-HUR

    BEN-HUR Well-Known Member

    Thanks Dana for this info. As stated in my previous post, Kara is now coached by Alberto Salazar who has a deep interest in running biomechanics/running form... & the changing there of in the quest for greater running efficiency. My next post will have a snippet of a fascinating article I've recently read which goes into depth on this issue regarding coach Alberto Salazar & the athlete Dathan Ritzenhein... a balanced review of the pros & cons of changing a runners style.

    Dana, I know there is a wee bit of an issue between Kevin & yourself. I know it is frustrating for you (& no know doubt Kevin feels likewise) but the nature/tone (of which I can understand) of the first sentence of the above quote isn't conducive for a more amicable dialogue - not that I'm saying you will receive this anyway (i.e. Kevin's history of belittling responses towards you). However, this is likely due to the following...

    Allow me to speculate for a moment here. The way I see it (from my perspective), is that there does tend to be a boys club type mentality here on this forum - particularly in the area of "sports" & "biomechanics". Others here may shoot me down for stating it but it is an observation worth noting at this point. You Dana don't appear to be accepted because of your 'layman' position (i.e. not a Podiatrist or one who is in the field of biomechanics), hence you are looked down upon & subsequently unfairly treated in some (if not all) cases. I feel this is wrong as you have every right to contribute to this forum (particularly running related threads) as you are an experienced runner who is interested in running footwear along with a sincere interest in biomechanics. There have been in the past some who have come on this forum to put there unsubstantiated & biased barefoot views across & then left or not further contribute when asked to justify their position - you are not in this category. Hence, being that this is an academic/education based forum (as has been pointed out), a sincere interest in the above areas are worthy of respect & subsequent views expressed should not labelled as "BS".

    I for one value your input. I may not always agree with everything that is put forward but this aspect just encourages one to look at an area of the one topic in a different way/direction... & subsequently weigh up the validity of it in the overall picture. I too have views which some may (& have) disagree with (i.e. anti-evolution perspective) but I would like to think that people here don't hold it against me (albeit there has been a documentary made on academic discrimination of a Creation perspective).

    I for one think this is an extremely valid point - there could quite well be a connection which at the least is a "strong coincidence" i.e. greater potential adverse eccentric loading forces of some areas & the greater Sub Talar Joint influence associated with heel striking.

    Very valid points... read my next post... The Perfect Stride >>>

    Very valid point Dana... that I think goes beyond "just an observation"... as I have noticed this myself. Your assumption would no doubt be correct... that is some views are treated & viewed differently based on who typed them. Having said this, I must be honest & say that Kevin is a "valuable poster" on this forum as he has showed great knowledge & insight in areas relating to Podiatry & biomechanics in the past. It would also be good if this degree of respect is reciprocated regardless... when it is due.
  20. BEN-HUR

    BEN-HUR Well-Known Member

    The following is a snippet from an article which I find goes well with this thread...

    The Perfect Stride
    Can Alberto Salazar straighten out American distance running?

    By Jennifer Kahn November 8, 2010

    I think the above is a valuable account for all involved to consider (i.e. both camps of the barefoot, footstrike perspectives). There are issues that need be considered when theory makes way for application in the real world with real individuals in the quest for improvement.

    Just because it's Sunday, here is a few associated videos which may be of interest...

    Inspirational stuff...

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 22, 2016
  21. CraigT

    CraigT Well-Known Member

  22. Mathew:

    Thanks for your balanced post. I know I can be a "wee bit" overbearing at times and actually, I have no hard feelings against Dana, since he is obviously a very intelligent individual with running experiences that parallel mine. I hope Dana continues to contribute also here on Podiatry Arena in the areas he feels he can be of service to us.

    However, I think it is very difficult for most to understand, that after spending the last 26 years of my life reading scientific research studies on running biomechanics and teaching running biomechanics to podiatrists and podiatry students nationally and internationally, in addition to writing articles on the subject, I feel I deserve some respect for my knowledge. When I don't get that respect, honestly, at this stage of my life being extremely busy with my practice, academic projects and lecture schedule, I feel like just quitting Podiatry Arena. When Podiatry Arena starts to become a burden for me, I feel I could use my time more effectively teaching in other venues, where things are more positive for me, where I am both teaching and learning at the same time, and without the petty bickering that often goes on here.

    You see, Mathew, the reason I continue to contribute here is because I enjoy discussing important topics that relate to my podiatric colleagues with some of the best minds in the world in podiatric biomechanics. In addition, I believe, others also enjoy learning from our public discussions. However, I don't get paid anything for all the time I put into Podiatry Arena. In fact, my lovely wife of 31 years would certainly prefer I spent less time here typing on the computer and more time with her and the rest of my family (2 sons and 3 grandchildren). So, Mathew, the temptation to just quit this place is on my mind all the time...and I wouldn't miss the title of "Most Valuable Poster" for one second. Maybe some of the frustrations I have in regards to Podiatry Arena comes out in my responses to others, including Dana, but that is just the way it is.

    For now, as I am in the last decade of my long podiatric academic career, I seem to be less tolerant of the frustrations that seem to continue here on Podiatry Arena. Maybe it is the effects of older age. I suppose that I would rather spend my last years as a podaitrist and podiatric educator doing things that are more positive for me, my family and my students. I'm sure the wonderful educational resource that Podiatry Arena has to offer will continue to exist without me being a part of it.:drinks
  23. BEN-HUR

    BEN-HUR Well-Known Member

    Thanks Kevin for your response,

    I Kevin sincerely respect your knowledge on biomechanics, particularly coupled with running (which we both have a passion for... as does Dana). I am also certain that 99% of people here on this forum & the world of Podiatry & biomechanics respect your knowledge in these fields (the other 1% probably just won't want to admit it).

    I have learned a lot from you via here (Podiatry Arena) & your books. You not only have a God given talent in understanding the realms of biomechanics but (just as importantly) have a unique gift in articulating this knowledge in a way that most can understand, remember & apply for themselves. Your posts often stand out due to their knowledge content & clarity on the subject matter.

    Unfortunately (due to the nature of some people) you have to expect that due to your reputation, people are/may see you as a target of sorts... on the other hand because of your position/authority you may/must feel compelled to respond to these people as well as the views which fly in the face of believed reason/truth... which can thus be the ingredients for unpleasant dialogue... of which you have no doubt have better issues to invest your energies on.

    I have noticed of late that you have been the subject of undue criticism, bordering on personal attack from time to time (i.e. that thread about "foot typing"). I came close to getting involved but decided not to (thus didn't see the outcome). I also belong to a running related forum & threads with a thread title targeting an individual in a criticizing nature (as that thread was) isn't allowed; thus not only was the nature of intentions uncalled for but in my opinion so was the manner it was carried out. Then there have been the barefoot related issues of late.

    Heck, it can be downright frustrating at times :craig: - no doubt more so for yourself due to your experience & knowledge. As I said, I belong to a running forum thus I'm sure you can imagine what sort of ignorant rubbish has been rehashed since the "Born To Run" religion has surfaced. Frankly, there is only one book that deserves the "Born To Run" title & that is Seb Coe's book (link)! Having said this I am what is now deemed a minimalist running shoe wearer who also wears Vibram 5 Toes... & have been so before it was 'ordained' cult status.

    As annoying the above issues can be as well as the associated people on a quest of sorts to express this narrow minded dogma; I personally feel Dana doesn't fit into the category. I personally feel he is sincere & is practicing what he preaches. As anecdotal some of his views are I feel they are carefully considered & thus interesting. He is at the least a lot more balanced & analytical than many I've come across. From my personal perspective, the clash that sometimes arises between you two has been more to do with misunderstanding each other's intentions/perspective as well as (which is also the influence of) reciprocating the digs you give each other... which at least have been funny at times. Thus the intentions behind post # 19.

    I certainly understand your temptation to move on... particularly when you feel your input isn't appreciated. Let me assure you it is appreciated but you are less likely these days to have it expressed as much because most here expect a high quality of input from yourself. To use a running analogy... people are less likely to pat Haile Gebrselassie on the back for running a 2.09 marathon... but if I did it - whoa :D ... I'll be the talk of the country (at least in athletic circles). Also, unfortunately you are more likely to cop a bit of flack due to reasons stated in the previous block. I know it's hard... but sometimes it might be best to bite your tongue & ignore some views/people... if you want to lower frustration levels... some things are just not worth killing your DNA over :bang: (reminding myself).

    I feel Podiatry Arena certainly requires your input... probably more than ever. Maybe have something in your signature area stating your need to focus on more worthy endeavours... instead of trying to engage in ongoing intelligent dialogue with unarmed individuals :cool:.
  24. Dana Roueche

    Dana Roueche Well-Known Member

    David, you might have misread a few things that I have written.

    1) I am not a barefoot runner.
    2) I actively use 13 different models of running shoes for my running.
    3) My foot strike ranges from heel striking to forefoot striking.
    4) I believe that the best foot strike is driven by many variables, such as shoe type, velocity, grade, and surface type, stride rate and stride length.
    5) I believe that variation of footstrike by changing the variables that influence foot strike might be the healthiest path to take.

    To put it very simply, my concern has never been in support of the barefoot movement. It has been about many statements that are made on this forum that are just as unsubstantiated and twisted as the statements that barefooters have been criticized for making.

    This thread started with a post about heel striking and injury rate. Can anyone provide a reference that demonstrates that heel striking results in a lower injury rate than fore foot or mid foot striking? If not, then I have to question the position and comments made in the post than started this thread. I'm just trying to understand whether arguing one type of foot strike over another is really warranted and can be demonstrated with real data.

    Maybe I misunderstood the intent of the post that kicked this thread off.

    Can anyone help?

  25. phil

    phil Active Member


    In response to your question- "Can anyone provide a reference that demonstrates that heel striking results in a lower injury rate than fore foot or mid foot striking?"

    I must ask...Can anyone provide a reference that demonstrates that heel striking results in a HIGHER injury rate than fore foot or mid foot striking? Because that is the claim and the concern in the first sentance of the starting post of this thread. The burden of proof is on those claiming that heel striking causes more injuries. What does the literature say?

    I'm not sure that Kevin Kirby is promoting heel striking exclusively. I think he's pointing out elite runners that do not fit into the barefoot/ forefoot striking exclusive dogma. The fore foot and mid foot strikers that followed close behind show that running style is very individual, as i'm sure you would agree.

    Also, to quote you- "I believe that the best foot strike is driven by many variables, such as shoe type, velocity, grade, and surface type, stride rate and stride length."

    Please explain your rationale on how these factors influence best foot strike. I don't disagree, I just want to discuss.

  26. phil

    phil Active Member

    Kevin:Don't quit podiatry arena. Well, quit if you want to.

    But know this- I had no idea what a medially deviated subtalar joint axis was once. Or what dorsal interossesous compression syndrome was. Or ground reaction force. I used to talk about hypermobile 1st rays, too. And I told my patients their orthotics were going to return their subtalar joint to neutral. But no more.

    Why? Because of the relentless scrutiny of theories and ideas on this forum. Not just you, mind you. Lots of people.

    You can be arrogant if you want, cause you've taught me lots. Many thanks.

    Last edited: May 10, 2011
  27. Dana Roueche

    Dana Roueche Well-Known Member

    Phil, my point was to question whether there is any evidence that supports a relationship between the type of foot strike and injury rate. I'm just trying to understand why anyone would want to continue to argue when there is nothing to support one position or another.

    Phil, I could put a lot of time and effort into explaining why I believe that it is important that a runner let their foot strike be naturally determined as a result of the influencing variables as opposed to forcing a certain type of foot strike over another. I'm sorry but I'm not going to spend my time doing that because I have been convinced by several people on the podiatry arena that I would be wasting my time.

    I have been told by many on this forum that they have spent years seeing thousands of patients and that since I am not a medical professional, haven't written books, given lectures, etc. that I have nothing to add.

    My assumption is that while many have seen thousands of patients, those patients are there for a reason, they are experiencing some sort of pathology and most likely some level of pain. The experience of those on this forum is greatly based on what they have seen regarding pathology and the history of the person with the pathology. From my point of view, they are only seeing one side of the coin.

    What has been loud and clear to me is that from those who have been vocal on this forum, they don't want to hear from the person who has absolutely no history of pathology. Here they have a person who has logged many, many years of over 5,000 miles per year, has logged many many months of over 600 miles per month. Who is capable of running 100 miles at over 11,000 feet in altitude in less than a day........yet has never even stubbed a toe, let alone had any sort of pathology.

    For whatever reason, the vocal members on this forum have no interest what so ever in what a person might be doing or not doing in order to prevent pathology while they are running 10's of thousands of miles over decades with zero injuries.

    That's fine, I'll leave those people to try to learn from those with pathology. I know what I have done to stay healthy and completely injury free after 40 yrs of running. It might be anecdotal and apply to a single individual but I sincerely doubt it is coincidental or completely genetic.

    If there is one thing I have learned on this forum is that there is a great lack of research and evidence that supports the many variables and their relationship to injury with respect to running. Given that, we are all left with our opinion. That opinion is influenced by experience and the experience is filled with anecdotal information. Where is all of this coming from? The thousands of people visiting the podiatrists office with injury and pathology.

    In my opinion, experience based on 40 yrs of injury free, healthy running is FAR more valuable than experience based on injury. It is one thing to have a view of what might cause injury and pathology. It is yet another to have experience with how to prevent injury and pathology.

    At this point, I will share that knowledge with those who want to learn and I feel I can help. It certainly won't be on this forum.

    To a healthy, active, injury free life.

  28. efuller

    efuller MVP

    Why do you think that it's not genetics. Some people can do anything with their feet and never have any foot pain. Other folks need some help. Feet are different. What we podiatrists do is treat the injured, so it is probably a good idea that we look at the foot from that perspective.

    Whose feet hurt horribly when he walks in his Nike aqua socks when he goes conoeing and whose feet feel much better when he wears his orthotics.
  29. Dana Roueche

    Dana Roueche Well-Known Member

    Eric, please re-read what I said. I didn't say the I think it's not genetics. I did say that I don't think it is completely genetics. Yes, genetics can contribute to being healthy, injury free and pathology free, but..... there are many other contributing factors.

    No problem looking at the foot from the perspective of injury. I'm suggesting that there is another side of the coin to look at, the perspective of injury prevention. I am just suggesting that maybe, just maybe I have learned a few things while running over 74,000 documented miles since 1982 and another 20,000 estimated miles between 1972 and 1982 while NEVER developing an injury over the course of those 94,000 miles. I don't think there are many out there with that level of running AND an impeccable injury free record. I just have to shake my head with respect to how people have behaved on this forum. What a joke.

  30. efuller

    efuller MVP

    I did see what you wrote. I may not have asked my question well. So, why do you feet that you've been injury free other than genetics. Is it 95% genetics, 90% genetics...? From your vast running experience what advice would you give to the person just starting out besides the obvious. (Start slowly, watch where you step, lose weight before you start, have really good feet.)

    There are some feet that are going to get injured, if they try to run, no matter what advice you give them.

    Who lets his kids go barefoot, because it is their choice.
  31. Dana Roueche

    Dana Roueche Well-Known Member

    Eric, I think you know it is far more complex than that. The point of the last several posts that I've written is that there are many on this forum who really don't want to learn from what I have to say. Given that, I'm not going to waste my time. I certainly have tried but it is pointless.

  32. phil

    phil Active Member


    No podiatrist I know tells people they have to strike on their heels because its better for them. Are you suggesting some do?

    Your anecdotal evidence is problematic. For example, I know a man who smoked for 85 years and died of old age at 100. So, what does this prove. Answer- Not much.

    I'd like to hear your opinions about running, as you've run a lot. But perhaps you'll understand that I will treat it with the same caution as i would any study with sample size of 1.

    What are the variables that you think influence optimal foot strike, and why?

  33. Dana Roueche

    Dana Roueche Well-Known Member

    No, what gave you the idea that I'm suggesting some do?

    Kevin Kirby did write in the first post of this thread: "I decided I need to show some evidence that heel striking running can be a very fast and efficient way and injury free way to run." His evidence is a photo of Meb Keflezighi with no information about his injury history. I almost burst out laughing when I saw that. Meb Keflezighi is often used as an example of an elite runner with BAD inefficient form. Maybe you are confusing me for Kevin.

    I would agree. In the absence of controlled studies, we are all left to our opinions. Those opinions may be based on experience which is supported by anecdotal evidence. Everyone on this forum has an opinion. Look at the evidence given in the first post of this thread, a great example of problematic wouldn't you say?

    That's great Phil, too bad this is not a running forum. I have a lot I could say about running but this is not the place. Besides, it would be a pointless effort on my part.

    Are you kidding?

  34. phil

    phil Active Member

    No, not kidding.
  35. efuller

    efuller MVP

    Dana, I want to learn from you. Someone who has spent as many hours as you running without getting injured could know something that prevents injuries. Do you consciously do anything to prevent injuries? If you do nothing, then it must be the genetics that gave you very good feet (and good eyes to prevent stubbed toes and stepping into potholes).

  36. Dana Roueche

    Dana Roueche Well-Known Member

    Phil and Eric, I started posting to this forum 10 or 11 months ago. Here I am 215 posts later knowing that I have totally and completely wasted my time. I started posting with the intent of having a sincere and mature discussion about running and injury by comparing what I have learned from my practical background with what those with a clinical background have learned. Since I started posting I have been repeatedly discouraged from sharing my thoughts and opinions by those who consider themselves medical professionals. In addition, I do not know if your intent is sincere.

    At this point, it is best that I use my experience, energy and passion for running for the benefit of those who might appreciate the insights I have to offer.

  37. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    Abebe Bikala is somewhat of a hero of the barefoot community as he won the Rome 1960 Olympic marathon barefoot. What they don't tell you is that he went on to run faster and break a world record at the 1964 Tokyo Olympic marathon in shoes.

    It turned out he also did this by heel striking:

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 22, 2016
  38. And in minimalist shoes.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 22, 2016
  39. Great video Craig!! The audience is going to love this video when I do my debate with Irene on barefoot running.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 22, 2016
  40. Griff

    Griff Moderator


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