A Harvard Medical School study—conducted with the National Running Center at the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital—took a deep look at the relationship between injury and the pounding toll from repeated foot strikes.
A total of 249 female athletes were part of the study. The subjects ran over a force plate to provide the scientists info on their particular mechanics and stride.
"The takeaway is that a softer footfall appears to reduce the likelihood of injury," Irene Davis, Professor of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation said.
"If you land louder, it's harder. It's work, but you can make your foot-strikes softer."
In the report published on Harvard's website, Davis made made the following comment about a runner who consistently evaded injuries: "She ran like an insect over water."
Davis' advice for both heel-strikers and forefoot runners?
Take out your earbuds and pay attention to the sound of your footsteps. Soft-landing steps are noticably quiter.
"If you land louder, it's harder," Davis said. "It's work, but you can make your foot-strikes softer."
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