Craig Payne

University lecturer, runner, researcher, skeptic, woo basher, clinician

Dec 10, 2016
Published on:
1 min read

…I not too well today and do not have the energy to do a detailed analysis, so will not comment much on this new paper just published. I have litigated the issues previously in this post on Running Economy and Foot Strike Pattern.

Joint stiffness and running economy during imposed forefoot strike before and after a long run in rearfoot strike runners
Daniel A. Melcher, Max R. Paquette, Brian K. Schilling & Richard J. Bloomer
Journal of Sports Sciences; 09 Dec 2016
Research has focused on the effects of acute strike pattern modifications on lower extremity joint stiffness and running economy (RE). Strike pattern modifications on running biomechanics have mostly been studied while runners complete short running bouts. This study examined the effects of an imposed forefoot strike (FFS) on RE and ankle and knee joint stiffness before and after a long run in habitual rearfoot strike (RFS) runners. Joint kinetics and RE were collected before and after a long run. Sagittal joint kinetics were computed from kinematic and ground reaction force data that were collected during over-ground running trials in 13 male runners. RE was measured during treadmill running. Knee flexion range of motion, knee extensor moment and ankle joint stiffness were lower while plantarflexor moment and knee joint stiffness were greater during imposed FFS compared with RFS. The long run did not influence the difference in ankle and knee joint stiffness between strike patterns. Runners were more economical during RFS than imposed FFS and RE was not influenced by the long run. These findings suggest that using a FFS pattern towards the end of a long run may not be mechanically or metabolically beneficial for well-trained male RFS runners.

In the context of all the propaganda and rhetoric on forefoot vs rearfoot striking, I will just leave this here:

As always, I go where the evidence takes me until convinced otherwise ….and there are still no systematic advantages of one foot strike pattern over another when it comes to running economy.

Melcher DA, Paquette MR, Schilling BK, & Bloomer RJ (2016). Joint stiffness and running economy during imposed forefoot strike before and after a long run in rearfoot strike runners. Journal of sports sciences, 1-7 PMID: 27935426