Common Running Technique Faults

Common Running Technique Faults

1 Overstriding (Foot Contact in Front of Body)

  • Foot contact too far in front of centre of mass.
  • Stride length too great and feeling of reaching forward in attempt to run faster

Impact on Performance

  • Large Braking force reduces the momentum gained from previous stride
  • Increased energy cost to maintain velocity
  • Large force transferred through ankle,hip and knee


  • Teach forward body lean-to conserve momentum
  • Teach athlete to ‘pull feet up’ rather than overreach
  • Strengthen muscle of the ankle and knee in order to stabilise joints and tolerate ground contact loads

2 Heel Striking

  • Landing with the heel as the primary contact point
  • Typically resulting from overstriding

Impact on Performance

  • Large ground contact forces transmitted through the heel which has little ability to absorb load safely
  • .Unable to utilise the ligaments, muscle and tendons of the foot and ankle to transfer load.
  • May cause shin splints, inflammation of the ankle joint, pain in ankle and knees


  • Teach forward body lean-to move foot contact closer to centre of mass (under your body) and allow contact with mid-foot
  • Lean from the ankle with torso straight, not from the waist
  • Strengthen muscle of the ankle and knee in order to stabilise joints and tolerate ground contact loads

3 Knock Knees or Bowleggedness (Valgus or Varus knees)

  • Misalignment of the knee joint either from tibia/fibula (lower leg) or femur (upper leg)
  • Especially prevalent in females due to hip structure and difference Q angle compared to males

Impact on Performance

  • Misalignment causes increase stress and wear on knee joint and supporting ligaments (medial or lateral aspect)
  • May result in foot landing in overpronated position and lead to ankle/foot pain,low back/hip pain


Knock Knees

  • Strengthen hip abductors
  • Stretch hip adductors
  • Strengthen quads and VMO
  • Reduce tensile stress on lateral hip by foam rolling, dry needling, massage


  • Strengthen hip adductors
  • Stretch hip abductors
  • Reduce tension on ITB by foam rolling, dry needling, massage

Compiled in conjunction with Eamonn Hyland

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I qualified with an Honours degree in Physiotherapy from Trinity College Dublin in 2004. Since graduating I have worked in St. James Hospital Dublin and have worked in all the areas of speciality within the hospital including cardiorespiratory, orthopaedics, rheumatology, care of the elderly, neurology, burns and plastic surgery among others . I have also completed a post graduate certificate in acupuncture in UCD 2009. The Physiotherapy Department in SJH has strong links with Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and I have supervised undergraduate and postgraduate physiotherapy students on practice placements and also delivered lectures on the undergraduate academic programme in TCD. I have a keen interest in all sports and currently plays with Cill Dara RFC 1st team squad, and Milltown GAA. I have previously worked as Physiotherapist to Co. Carlow Senior GAA Team, Milltown GAA, Leinster Junior Rugby Team and Cill Dara RFC. I am an experienced runner and competed in the Dublin City Marathon in 2002. I continue to participate in running events and multisport disciplines such as Gaelforce West, Gaelforce North and the Motivate Challenge. I have a particular interest in strength and conditioning. I utilise this knowledge of resistance training in the treatment of his clients. I am committed to continuous learning and development in order to ensure the optimal level of care is offered to my clients, and with this in mind I am currently undertaking a certification in Strength and Conditioning (CSCS) with the NSCA.

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