is heel striking bad?
Simply put yes. The human body has adapted to running over 2 million years. Humans did not have shoes with a cushioned heel until the 1970s. before that our species used our ankle as a spring to improve timing, tension and shock absorption.
Research shows that when running with a bigger heel cushion you are more likely to land harder or brace harder through your joints. This makes it more comfortable to land on your heels. Running with a hard heel strike will greatly change how your calf and ankle work.
When the calf and ankle are changed so drastically, we change how the whole body is recruiting tension and propelling itself through the gait cycle. If you have never tried to cross train in minimalist shoes like the new balance minimus or merrel vaper glove, anything vibram, or barefoot, you likely are missing a lot of information of how your body actually performs in regard to shock absorption and propulsion.
If you have tried transitioning to “barefoot” running and have been limited by pain, its because your body has adapted to the environmental stressors throughout your life (stress, breathing patterns, sitting, shoes, only exercising on flat surfaces, not throwing or working on agility, etc).
There are certain things that need to be done with your body before and during a transition into more minimal running shoes. If you know you heel strike and you think it might be robbing your performance or increasing joint pains request a free visit with our therapist to figure out how we can best help you.