Narrow stride width in runners
Posted on 28th March 2019 at 11:11
When stride width is narrow the foot lands more centrally to the hip joint which increases the forces required for the hip muscles to control movement of the pelvis and lower leg. Increasing stretching forces of tissue on the outside of the leg and compressive forces on the inside of a leg. Some of the common problems we see in clinic if the soft tissue of the body is unable to cope with the forces associated with narrow stride width are lateral thigh/knee pain, ITB syndrome or medial tibial stress syndrome (shin splints).
As mentioned in all of my previous blogs (link) the body will self-optimise to the style of running you choose so narrow stride width does not necessarily need to be corrected, however if you experience some of the previously mentioned symptoms in your lower limb increasing stride width may give the body time to recover and adapt without having to stop running.
It is important when trying to increase stride width that you do not complicate things and maintain a fluid style. Imagining the line in front of you where your feet would land when running with your normal style and making this a couple of centimetres wider is a good cue to use.
When implementing changes to your running style it is important that changes are introduced gradually. I recommend to my clients that these should be for about 60 seconds of every mile run. Once you get use to this then it is up to you as whether you want to graduate to the new style completely or use it as a tool periodically to reduce load associated with your normal running style.
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