Tag Archive for: runners

The Dangers of Overstriding—and How to Stop It

Want to run healthy forever? Start here.

It is well-known that 65-75 percent of runners experience an injury every year (1). This makes running a highly injurious sport, causing researchers to look into what factors lead runners to injury.

The list of risk factors is extensive but near the top is overstriding. Running stride is the distance from where your foot hits the ground back to an invisible line down from your center of mass (anatomically, this is the fifth segment of the lumbar spine).

Once this line passes a certain length, we consider it overstriding. Overstriding has been shown to increase stress on the body. Some people have enough strength to absorb the increased stress but many do not. Even with enough strength, it is not efficient to run accepting more mechanical load (stress) than is necessary to produce forward momentum.

But wait—it gets worse. The longer the stride, the greater amount of vertical displacement. This means the further out you stride, the higher you jump in the air and, therefore, the harder you land on the ground. Increased vertical displacement is another top risk factor in running injuries.

Further, overstriding leads to a straighter knee and a more aggressive heel strike which significantly reduces the knee muscles’ ability to absorb shock. The shock is then transferred to the knee menisci, knee joint and on to the hip and back joints.

About the Author: Dr. Eric Schweitzer has been a Doctor of Physical Therapy for 14 years and is board certified in orthopaedic physical therapy. He is one of the few clinicians in the country that specializes specifically in running medicine including running injury prevention, running injury rehabilitation & running performance. Eric is certified as a Pose Running form coach as well as a certified manual therapist. Eric owns Premier Physical Therapy & Yoga in Clearwater. This is the only yoga studio in Tampa Bay where the yoga is guided by a Doctor of Physical Therapy. His other clinic, Premier Run & Fit, is a running specific physical therapy clinic inside a retail running store, The St. Pete Running Company. Find more about Dr. Schweitzer at www.PremierRunFit.com, Twitter: @RunTampaBay