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Shortening your stride mimics the effects of running barefoot

August 23rd, 2010

Just got back from a fantastic canoe trip in Quebec (and yes, I caught more pickerel, along with a pike and a whitefish). While I was away, my Jockology column on how shortening your stride can mimic some of the effects of barefoot running ran in the Globe and Mail:

…a forthcoming study from researchers at the University of Wisconsin suggests that many of the benefits promised by barefoot running, including a reduction of the forces acting on knees and hips, can be obtained simply by taking shorter, quicker steps.

“We found very similar loading patterns,” says Bryan Heiderscheit, the senior author of the study, which will appear in a forthcoming issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, “and you don’t have to go all the way to the extreme of getting rid of your shoes. [READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE...]

I initially blogged about this study last month, but I subsequently had a really interesting interview with Dr. Heiderscheit. Obviously, this is a very controversial topic these days, and it sometimes seems as if everybody has a biomechanical study that supports their point of view. So I was happy to hear that the Wisconsin team is undertaking a proper randomized, controlled clinical trial that will follow runners for a year or two as they alter their stride length, to see whether it actually affects injury rates as opposed to just joint forces.