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Infographic. Running myth: switching to a non-rearfoot strike reduces injury risk and improves running economy
  1. James L N Alexander1,2,
  2. Richard W Willy3,
  3. Christopher Napier4,5,
  4. Daniel R Bonanno6,
  5. Christian J Barton1,7
  1. 1 La Trobe Sports and Exercise Research Centre, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  2. 2 The Running Physiotherapist, Port Stephens, New South Wales, Australia
  3. 3 Department of Physical Therapy and Movement Science, University of Montana, Missoula, Montana, USA
  4. 4 Department of Physical Therapy, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  5. 5 Mechatronic Systems Engineering, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada
  6. 6 Podiatry, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  7. 7 Department of Surgery, St Vincent's Hospital, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  1. Correspondence to James L N Alexander, La Trobe Sports and Exercise Research Centre, La Trobe University, Melbourne, VIC 3086, Australia; j.alexander{at}

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Endurance running is associated with high rates of injury,1 with injury causation often complex and multifactorial.2 Running biomechanics are thought to play a role in the aetiology of running-related injury.3 Therefore interventions to change running technique may assist in the prevention and management of injuries.4

The overwhelming majority of recreational shod distance runners run with a rearfoot strike pattern.5 Running with a rearfoot strike has been retrospectively associated with greater risk of running-related injury,6 and switching to a non-rearfoot strike pattern has been reported to improve symptoms in runners with anterior lower leg pain and patellofemoral pain.7 8 As such, changing strike pattern has become a commonly considered and promoted strategy when attempting to prevent and manage injury in endurance runners9 (see figure 1). Many elite …

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  • Twitter @JamesA_15, @rwilly2003, @runnerphysio, @DrChrisBarton

  • Contributors JLNA and CJB conceived the idea. JLNA led development of the infographic and accompanying text. All authors contributed and approved the final infographic and accompanying text.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.