The mid-foot strike in running

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There are three common ways of describing how the foot lands in running – on forefoot, flatfoot or the heel. The term “mid-foot” is a rather recent addition to the running jargon. It gained a certain level of popularity because it’s description sounds plausible and promises to relieve runners from all sorts of maladies when running.

But let’s look at the terminology: “midfoot” landing. It is described as landing “just behind” the ball of the foot. Advocates of this approach consider it as an efficient substitute for forefoot landing, allowing the runner to reduce the load on the foot supporting tissues and making landing softer.

It sounds as an important consideration, if we don’t know the meaning of the anatomical term “mid-foot”. By definition, as described for example in “Joints Structure & Function” (Norkin S.C., P.K. Levangie, F.A. Devis Company. Philadelphia, 1992, p. 381), mid-foot consists of five tarsal bones, which make up the arch of our foot. It is obvious that landing on the arch is out of question as far as this physical reality goes.

In addition, a study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercises in 2004, revealed that runners that claim to land on mid-foot experience just as much eccentric work and load at the knee as heel strikers do.

As you can see, a closer look at the the mid-foot term shows that it brings an erroneous assumption and a false promise to the table.

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File under: Running, Technique
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