Annals of Biomedical Engineering

, Volume 41, Issue 8, pp 1758–1766 | Cite as

The Effect of Foot Strike Pattern on Achilles Tendon Load During Running

  • Thomas Almonroeder
  • John D. Willson
  • Thomas W. Kernozek


In this study we compared Achilles tendon loading parameters during barefoot running among females with different foot strike patterns using open-source computer muscle modeling software to provide dynamic simulations of running. Muscle forces of the gastrocnemius and soleus were estimated from experimental data collected in a motion capture laboratory during barefoot running for 11 runners utilizing a rearfoot strike (RFS) and 8 runners utilizing a non-RFS (NRFS) pattern. Our results show that peak Achilles tendon force occurred earlier in stance phase (p = 0.007), which contributed to a 15% increase in average Achilles tendon loading rate among participants adopting a NRFS pattern (p = 0.06). Stance time, step length, and the estimated number of steps per mile were similar between groups. However, runners with a NRFS pattern experienced 11% greater Achilles tendon impulse each step (p = 0.05) and nearly significantly greater Achilles tendon impulse per mile run (p = 0.06). This difference equates to an additional 47.7 body weights for each mile run with a NRFS pattern. Runners considering a NRFS pattern may want to account for these novel stressors and adapt training programs accordingly.


Muscle force Gastrocnemius Soleus Barefoot 


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Copyright information

© Biomedical Engineering Society 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Almonroeder
    • 1
  • John D. Willson
    • 2
  • Thomas W. Kernozek
    • 1
  1. 1.La Crosse Institute for Movement Science, Department of Health Professions—Physical Therapy ProgramUniversity of Wisconsin—La CrosseLa CrosseUSA
  2. 2.Department of Physical TherapyEast Carolina UniversityGreenvilleUSA

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