Why do my feet slap down

7 messages
31/01/2009 at 16:54

I am 42 and have been running on and off for over 20 years. In the last 12 months I have started slapping my feet when run and cannot seem to do anything about it. I deliberately try to land on my heel and roll off the ball of my foot but it just does not seem to happen.

I am now getting sore feet and was wondering if anyone has any advice. I run at about a 5 min km and don't  take large strides if that helps.

Edited: 31/01/2009 at 16:56
31/01/2009 at 17:02
Landing on your heel is something to avoid if you can - I certainly wouldn't deliberately land on my heel unless that was the only way I could run. Generally forefoot running is more efficient and makes you less prone to injury.
JRM
01/02/2009 at 20:26

Foot slappers usually have weak tibialis anterior muscles. 

This muscle is the one to the front and slightly outside of your shin bone.  It's the one that bulges up if you put your foot flat on the floor and then raise the ball of your foot whilst keeping your heel on the ground.

The classic way to strengthen this muscle is to sit on a table with your feet dangling and hook the handle of a medium size tin of paint over your toes and do some raises.  Don't overdo it though because if you run with tired tibialis muscles you can get injured.

As well as controlling the front of your foot during the landing phase of running, the muscle has one other function - to lift your foot clear of the ground after it pushes off.  If you take small strides you will be using the muscle much less.  This may be why it's weak.  Perhaps your stride has become shorter over the last couple of years?  You might want to do some general leg stretches to lengthen your stride a bit.

I don't really get involved in discussions about the pros and cons of heel vs forefoot striking.  It's all a bit unscientific.

02/02/2009 at 10:14
JRM
02/02/2009 at 12:55

The extract just concludes that its worth looking into.

02/02/2009 at 15:54

JRM

I'm intrigued by your suggestion that 'Foot slappers usually have weak tibialis anterior muscles'. 

Is it scientific?

JRM
03/02/2009 at 09:21
No I made it up.

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