When your foot hits the ground, which part strikes first, your heel or your toe? It's an age-old debate of which is easier on your body, and new research sheds some light on this controversy.
Published in June in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, a study out of Finland shows that heel striking typically results in 16 percent more force moving through the knee joint (one of the top areas of injury for runners) than that of the forefoot striker. But the forefoot strikers saw 20 percent more force in their achilles' tendons and ankles-- two more high-risk injury areas.
The New York Times reported on this yesterday, so check out their post on the Well Blog for more information. They share that research has indicated that a vast majority of runners are heel-strikers, citing 90 and 94 percent in two different studies.
The bottom line is essentially that you can't escape the effects of running on your body, no matter what your form is. Switching your stride isn't easy, but if you suffer from ankle pain or knee injuries, it might be a good idea to try out the opposite form.