Where runners go wrong

This is the title of an article from the Harvard Gazette back in Feb 2016 last year. Basically it’s about a study done by Prof Irene Davis at Harvard to investigate the differences between runners who sustained an injury during the 2 year study period and those who did not.

249 female recreational runners were recruited. As it turned out, 144 did went on to sustain a mild injury whereas the remaining 105 did not. No major differences were found between these two broad groups.

“Then they examined the smaller groups at the two extremes of the spectrum: those who had been injured seriously enough to seek medical attention and those who not only went uninjured during the course of the study, but who reported never having been injured.”

“Significant differences emerged between the two groups in a variable called “vertical average loading rate,” which was highest in the seriously injured runners and lowest in the uninjured group.”

“The takeaway is that a softer footfall appears to reduce the likelihood of injury. Previous studies show that one potential approach for runners trying to cut the chances of injury is to adopt an impact-absorbing forefoot strike — which Davis herself, a barefoot runner, uses. But even the committed heel-striker can learn from the gliders, Davis said.”

Certainly there have been studies suggesting that asking runners to run softer is an effective and easy strategy to reduce the vertical average loading rate. Again this is but a small piece of the puzzle when it comes to running injuries and its high prevalence.

Please click here to read the full article.

*Also to learn more about vertical loading rate, please check out Jay Dicharry’s excellent blog post on this topic. It is a 2 part blog entry. Please click here for the first part.

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