Every Time I Run I Get Shin Splints…

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By Coach Chloe Itzstein

…Or sore knees, ankle and or hips. If every time you finish a run, whether it be 400m or 21km, you have sore joints, it’s likely the problem is not your joints, it’s the way you’re running. Can I take a stab and say you land on your heels when you run? There’s your problem.

How Heel Strike Happens

You stretch your lower leg in front of your body so your foot is going to make contact with the ground in front of you. The easiest way to make contact in this position is through your heel as it allows you to maintain a steady centre of mass and avoid bounding over each leg.

The Problems Associated With Landing in this Position

Just as stated by Newtons Third Law – for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

So if the heel strike is on an angle to the ground as it is when it is in front of your body, the opposing reaction is straight back up the leg through the line of joints.

Running with a heel strike leads to a shock wave starting at the heel and moving up the leg through the hip, knee and ankle causing problems like shin splints, knee pain, hip pain etc.

The ball of our foot is designed to have enough padding to cushion these ground reaction forces, which is why we see less injury with mid foot running. You don’t skip on your heels do you? And you get almost the same force production through running as you do skipping.

What is the Pose Method?

The Fall: Is the period of time where your leg swings through and makes mid foot contact with the ground.

The Pose: The point where your foot passes under yourcentre of mass. The foot is already in contact with the ground. It is the time where your body is propelling forwards over this planted foot.

The Pull: The period where the supporting foot is pulled from the ground (instead of pushed from the ground due to the heel strike).


Why Coote Isn’t Crazy

In May this year, Fitness HQ Head Coach Sean ran the HBF Half Marathon barefoot. People said he was crazy. But the best part of running barefoot, is that as a protective act against ourselves to avoid shin splits, you will naturally run on the balls of your feet….taadaa!! Pose Method Running.

What do You do Now?

Going from heel striking to pose method, or mid foot running is not going to happen overnight. Heel striking is a habit that you have oiled for the past x number of years of your life so it will take time to break it. What you can do is every time you run, bring your foot into your focus. Are you landing on your heel or on the ball of your foot. Make changes as necessary and try to maintain them. You will get distracted, we all do. We are human. But keep bringing your focus back to where you are making contact with the ground and modify. It will take time but it will happen.

The big question is how bad do you want pain free running?

We have an 8 week running course leading into the City to Surf starting at the end of June where we will be teaching you how to run properly and injury free. If you are interested get in touch today at [email protected]


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