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  • Writer's pictureEinav

Should you run on your TIP TOES or on your HEELS?

Updated: Oct 5, 2023

There are three main styles used to hit the ground running: forefoot strike, mid-foot strike, and heel strike. Forefoot strikers tend to land on the ground with their toes first and maintain an elevated heel, while mid-foot strikers land more in the middle of their foot before rolling through to their heel. Heel strikers contact the ground with their heel first before rocking forward to their toes. 89% of runners are heel strikers, 1.8% are forefoot strikers, and the rest are mid-foot strikers.

The latest research shows that each running style has its own pros and cons. In this article, I will explain why heel strike got a 'bad reputation' for no good reason and when you should consider changing your running style.


You may have noticed that most elite runners don’t heel strike. But did they become elite because they were good forefoot strikers, or was this a byproduct? According to the latest research, essentially if you are training to be a sprinter or fast middle-distance runner, then you should be forefoot striking; otherwise, your maximum speed will be compromised. For the rest of us folks plodding along, there is no evidence to suggest that heel striking is making us slower.


Are you likely to get fewer injuries with a forefoot strike? Each striking style comes with its own common injuries. With a forefoot strike, you are more likely to develop Achilles or tibialis posterior tendinopathy. With a heel strike, you are more likely to develop anterior knee pain, patellar tendinopathy, and shin splints. It’s not about a perfect foot strike. Instead, it’s about preparing our bodies to handle the loads and forces that come with the foot strike pattern we are already used to. From personal experience, most injuries related to heel striking or forefoot striking occur when someone decides to change from one to the other over a short period and ends up with Achilles pain or patellofemoral pain. This is backed up by research that shows the different bio-mechanical loading between both techniques.


Technically, it is more efficient to run the way you have practiced running all these years. Only if you have a recurrent injury that is directly related to your running technique should you consider changing your running technique, but not necessarily forever.


When you have an ongoing injury that doesn't resolve, it's recommended to see a physiotherapist that specializes in running injuries. Your strength and running technique will be assessed, and you will get the right solutions to get you back on your heels/toes! .

*The article doesn't replace medical advise.

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