May 02, 2014 6:48 AM GMT
So maybe this refutes the supposed benefits of barefoot running/shoes?
Large U.S. Army Study: Foot Strike Doesn't Affect Injury Rate
The army wanted to see if it could reduce injury rates among soldiers.
By Amby Burfoot
Published May 1, 2014
Important running injury studies are notoriously difficult to conduct. The basic problem is lack of subjects. Most researchers are lucky if they can include a couple dozen runners in their projects. And in general, the smaller the number of subjects, the less meaningful the results.
The U.S. Army doesn’t have this problem. It not only has multitudes of subjects; it also has powerful motivation to keep those subjects healthy. An injured soldier is a costly, inefficient one.
That’s why the Army got just as interested in the Born To Run storyline and the forefoot/rearfoot debate as the rest of us. Someone in the top brass issued a command: “Find out if footstrike makes a difference.” The lieutenants responded, “Sir! Yes, sir!”
Later this month, several of those lieutenants will discuss their results in a “poster” presentation at the annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine. The most important poster is titled “Footstrike Patterns Do Not Influence Running Related Overuse Injuries in U.S. Army Soldiers.” The research looked into past-year injury rates among 1,027 soldiers (including 232 women).
“There are no large studies evaluating differences in injury profiles between heel strike and non-heel-strike runners,” the poster notes. “Due to high musculoskeletal injury rates in soldiers, a better understanding of the potential relationship between foot strike and injury could be beneficial to the military services.”
The Army videotaped all 1,027 runners, and found that 83 percent were heel-strikers. This was true for both men and women. The runners were asked about any injuries they incurred in the past 12 months, and two clinical experts divided these into acute and overuse injuries.
The results showed no significant injury-rate difference between heel-strikers and non-heel-strikers, with 15 to 18 percent of the runners reporting an overuse injury. The rate among women was higher than among men, 27 percent versus 14 percent.
The Army also measured the performance of all 1,027 subjects. The men could run two miles in about 14:40; the women, about 17:15. The non-heel-strikers were modestly faster than the heel-strikers: by 12 seconds among men, by about 35 seconds among women.