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Active Voice: In Pursuit of Injury-free Running — Does Footwear Matter?

from By Hannah M. Rice, Ph.D., and Irene S. Davis, Ph.D., P.T., FACSM, FAPTA, FASB

Hannah M. Rice, Ph.D. Irene S. Davis, Ph.D., P.T., FACSM, FAPTA, FASB
From Feb. 14: Viewpoints presented in SMB commentaries reflect opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect positions or policies of ACSM.

Hannah M. Rice, Ph.D., is a lecturer in biomechanics at the University of Exeter, with a research focus on lower limb overuse injury. After her Ph.D. research investigating mechanisms for stress fractures among military recruits, she completed postdoctoral training at the Spaulding National Running Center at Harvard Medical School in Massachusetts.

Irene S. Davis, Ph.D., P.T., FACSM, FAPTA, FASB, is a professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School, and director of the Spaulding National Running Center. Her research focuses on mechanical factors that influence running-related injuries and the effectiveness of interventions to minimize risk of these injuries and to improve post-injury rehabilitation.

This commentary presents Dr. Rice's and Dr. Davis' views on the topic of the research article which they and their colleagues had published in the December 2016 issue of
Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise® (MSSE).

Research aimed at reducing the high incidence of running-related injuries has been ongoing for decades, yet there is no evidence to indicate any reduction over time. There has been much discussion in recent years around the influence of footwear and foot strike on injury risk. This was fueled by the observation that runners in modern-day cushioned footwear tend to land on their heels (rearfoot strike – RFS), whereas habitually barefoot runners tend to land on the ball of their foot (forefoot strike – FFS). As barefoot is our natural state, this led to discussions as to whether modern-day footwear, which influences foot strike pattern, has contributed to the high rate of running injuries in the modern day. more

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