The Foot Strike and Preventing Shin Splints.

A very common complaint among the untrained recreational runner is shin splints (medial tibial stress syndrome) it is one I hear a lot. The first thing I always ask the person is how do they strike their foot when they run and the answer 9.9/10 is they heel strike. Heel striking provides a problem for the lower extremities for the following reasons.

When the foot is dorsiflexed in this manor (similar to a heel strike) the talus locks up the ankle joint (bone D) meaning the ankle looses a lot of it’s shock absorbing capacity. Meaning the forces presented to shin, knee and hip are that much greater this can not only lead to problems for the shins (in the case of shin splints) but may also increase the incidences of ACL injuries in females due to the “q” angle of their femur which is a result of their wider hips.

Not only does heel striking result in less shock absorption from the ankle it also prevents a much smaller surface area to contact the ground then a forefoot or mid foot striker enjoys.

Heel Strike juxtaposed to a midfoot strike.

So in future when you go for a run do your shins/knee/hips a favour and run through the balls of your feet.