Will the Foot Strike Pattern Change at Different Running Speeds with or without Wearing Shoes?
Lai Y-J., Chou W., Chu I-H., Wang Y-L., Lin Y-J., Tu SJ., Guo L-Y.
Runners strike their feet with three different patterns during running: forefoot, midfoot, and rearfoot. This study aimed to investigate whether runners maintain consistent patterns while running speed and foot condition change. The foot strike patterns of runners when running on a treadmill at paces ranging from slow to fast were recorded from twenty healthy male regular runners, with and without shoes, in random order. A high-speed camera was used to observe the strike patterns, which were then categorized by an experienced physical therapist. Linear-log and Pearson chi-square analysis with a significance level of α = 0.05 was performed to examine the correlation between foot strike pattern, running speed, and shoe conditions. The results suggest that runners strike with different patterns when running with and without shoes (χ2 = 99.07, p < 0.01); runners preferred to adopt heel strike regardless of running speeds when running with shoes. While running barefoot, only 23.8% of landing strikes were rearfoot, and the strike pattern distribution did not change significantly with the running speed (χ2 = 2.26, p = 0.89). In summary, the foot strike preference of runners is correlated with the foot condition (barefoot or shod) rather than running speed. For runners who intend to change their strike patterns for any reason, we recommend that they consider adjusting their footwear, which may naturally help with the foot strike adjustment. Future studies should attempt to use advanced techniques to observe further foot biomechanics in order to discover if changing strike pattern is directly correlated with lower limb injuries.