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May 10

APMA Staff

Running with Proper Foot Strike Techniques

by APMA Staff

Running with Proper Foot Strike Techniques

You don’t have to be a scientist to understand these techniques.

Last month we talked about the basics of running, proper preparation and posture being key. A good pair of shoes is also a good idea. This month we’ll dig a bit deeper into the running scene with our recommendations on proper foot strike techniques.

That might sound complicated, but the term just refers to how a runner’s feet connect with the surface in front of them. Here in the office, we see many injured patients that have just started running regularly. No surprise there, since these individuals were never informed of how to run with proper foot strike technique. Here are a few of the things we tell our patients, especially those looking to run in marathons or other competitions.

1. Avoid Defaulting to the Heel Style Strike

The farther the foot is from an individual’s center of mass (usually somewhere around the top of the hip bones), the more likely the foot is to act as a brake, jolting joints up and down the lower body.

Think of it this way: the larger the stride, the greater the impact. An individual is also more likely to land on the heel of the extended foot. Combined, these factors prevent the knee from acting as the shock absorber it is meant to be.

Many individuals automatically default to this “heel style strike” due to lives spent sitting down, which result in tight hips and a lack of flexibility. Note that the “heel style strike” does have its uses: it’s perfect to slow down when going downhill.

Take short, quick strides. This allows a runner to be more in control of their movements, and results in less breaking and bouncing. You can achieve the same speed with shorter strides, so opting for a longer stride is just using more muscles for no reason.

2. Choose a Mid-Foot Style Strike

For those of us that choose to run simply as a form of exercise, the mid-foot style strike is the best bet. This is the chosen style of foot strike for long distance runners. As TheRunExperience notes, “most of your foot hits the ground at once, with your weight balanced right about even on top of your hips, knees, and ankles.”

3. Finish with Strong Forefoot Style Strike

Completely different from the “heel style strike,” the “forefoot style strike” involves weight focused the balls of a runner’s feet and toes.

Perfect for gaining speed, runners in this technique also bend their body slightly forward. Running like this for an entire marathon or miles at a time isn’t a good idea due to excessive stress on the calves and Achilles tendons, but, as TheRunExperience notes, it’s perfect as a gas pedal.

Have any questions about proper foot strike techniques? Visit our clinic in Edmonds, WA

The trained specialists at Ankle & Foot of Edmonds can answer all of your questions. Call 425-775-6996, or complete our online form to set up an appointment.


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