Is there a relationship between strike pattern and injury during running: a review

Huiyu Zhou*, Ukadike Chris Ugbolue

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)
127 Downloads (Pure)


Object  Recently people have shown an interest in running barefoot or with minimalist shoes, which result in forefoot strike (FFS) patterns that are different from running in normal shod with the rearfoot strike (RFS). To date, there is a dispute whether runners’ footfall pattern has an important impact on running injuries. Therefore, the purpose of this review is to investigate whether there is a relationship between different strike patterns and running injuries by reviewing the literature.

Materials and Methods  A database retrieval and reference search were carried out with PubMed, Scopus, Google Scholar, and ScienceDirect. In the final review, 10 papers were included by matching the inclusion criteria.

Results  Barefoot running exhibited smaller impact forces, short stride length, higher strike frequency, and shorter contact times compared to the standard shod condition. The forefoot strike pattern showed an increase in the plantarflexed foot, more ankle compliance during impact, smaller loading at the knee and lowered vertical loading rate in the FFS pattern than RFS.

Discussion  Although the running injury is driven by multi-factorial variables, our literature review did not show any scientific evidence to suggest that footfall patterns are directly related to running injury.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-134
Number of pages8
JournalPhysical Activity and Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 30 Dec 2019


  • Barefoot
  • Minimalist
  • Running
  • Injuries
  • Footfall pattern
  • Forefoot strike
  • Rearfoot strike


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