THE SCIENCE BEHIND IT
Research studied and conducted by Dr. Etienne Penka at Boston University on the "Analysis of Landing and its Relationship to Musculoskeletal Injuries During Jogging” demonstrated the predominance of heel landing (84.4%), flat foot landing (9.0%) and front foot landing (6.6%) regardless of culture, age or gender.
Flat foot and heel landers displayed the highest percentage of musculoskeletal injuries at all locations of the lower extremity including the lower back (3, 5,14). Front foot landers displayed few injuries located mainly in the fore foot and posterior compartment of the leg (5, 14. 17)
The significant changes resulting from the experimental program demonstrated not only the relationship between landing pattern and injuries, but also that joggers are trainable.
Front foot landing appears to contribute to less injuries and better performance. Yet all existing running shoes are not designed to favor front foot landing (11, 12, 13, 14,15).
Scientific Evidence (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9,
10, 11, 16)
The analysis of the functional anatomy of the foot, ankle and leg (Table above) clearly demonstrates that front foot landing, using most BSAM than any other form of landing, is by far the best technique for landing (15).
In activities such as walking on slippery surfaces and/or jogging still, backward, going downstairs or downhill, sprinting, changing directions, pivoting, and more, landing front foot is natural.
Flat foot appears to be the worst landing technique since it plays against all arches of the foot and involves no muscle contraction.
Heel landing is great in walking on non-slippery surfaces as long as the tuberosity of the calcaneus bone does not hit the ground at an angle superior to 1 degree.
Most joggers strike the ground with their heels with at least 2-3 times their body weight on one foot (8, 16). Each action creates an equal reaction towards the opposite direction. Jogging is by far a contact sport. With different landing pattern, which body shock-absorbing mechanisms are in Play?
The Heelless Athletic Shoe, US patent No. 5,496.706 is designed to match the functional anatomy of the foot and the use of the foot in proper mechanics.
1. Anderson EJ. Grant’s Atlas of Anatomy, 8th Ed. Baltimore, MD. Williams & Williams, 1983.
2. Morton DJ. The Human Foot, Its Evolution, Physiology and Functional Disorders. New York, NY, Columbia University Press, 1936.
3. Norkin CC, Levange PK. Joint Structure & Function. F.A. Philadelphia, PA, Davis Company, 1983.
4. Scranton PE, Hootman DB, McMaster HJ. Momentary Distribution of Forces Under the Foot. Journal of Biomechanics 1976; 9: 45-48.
5. Basmajian J, James S. The role of muscles in Arch Support of the Foot. Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. 1963; 45A: 1184-90.
6. Vaughan CL. Biomechanics of Running Gait. Critical Reviews in Biomechanical Engineering. 1984; 12(1): 1-48.
7. Rodgers MM. Dynamic Biomechanics of the Normal Feet and Ankle During Walking and Running. Physical Therapy. 1988; 68(12): 1822-1829.
8. Cavanagh PR, Lafortune MA. Ground Reaction Forces in Distance Running. Journal of Biomechanics. 1980; 13(5) : 397-406.
9. Mann AR, Hagy LJ. Running, Jogging, and Walking: A Comparative Electromyographic and Biomechanical Study. American Orthopaedic Foot Society Meetings, Ney York, Stuttgart, Thieme-Stratton Inc., 1980.
10. Scranton PE, Rutkowski R, Brown TD. Support Phase Kinematics of the Foot. American Orthopaedic Foot Society Meetings, New York, Struttgart, thieme-Stratton Inc., 1980.
11. Drez D. Running Footwear. American Journal of Sports Medicine. 1980; 8:140.
12. Reinventing the Running Shoe. The Heelless Project. http://ec.europa.eu/research/sme-techweb/newsletter/issue11/success-stories.
13. Researchers develop heelless running shoe. The Engineer. 2010. www.theengineer.co.uk/video/heelless-running -shoe/
14. Research information centre-HEELLES- A new running shoe that helps prevent injury. Project website: http://heelless.org/
I15. nnovative running footwear for safer exercise. Htt://cordis.europa/result/
16. Heelless Running – Natural Running: www.healus.co.uk/
17. Footwear Science, Heel Landing vs Front Foot Landing.