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Do running biomechanics matter?

Pelvic tilts, flat feet and knock knees all have a bad reputation – but do they really mean anything to injury or performance?

Our biomechanical flaws are things we get obsessed about – they include:

  • Pelvic tilts
  • Knock knees
  • Flat feet
  • Femoral rotations
  • Tibial rotations
  • High arches

And yet do these anatomical variations really mean anything ? You may be pleased to know they are not really worth worrying about.

Biomechanics are such a poor predictor of injury that they don’t predict injury at all. This is because:

The biggest predictors leading to injury (previous injury and change in training load) are not influenced by biomechanics at all
We cant actually change structural biomechanics
Biomechanics may influence where we load our joints in some areas more than others – however this is the same for every person on the planet. There is no such thing as optimal biomechanics.

If you are suffering injury, whether your biomechanics are within ‘normal limits’ or not, we cannot significantly change them. People rely on braces and corrective devices such as orthotics to change biomechanics but there still remains very limited evidence that these devices help prevent injury.

Best evidence suggests changing how strong you are which will alter how much force goes through your joints. Remember your muscles stabilise your joints – joints don’t stabilise themselves. However, altering strength will still not significantly change your running technique – it will change how your body copes with the force of running.

We can only change how you run if we actively seek to with a running correction program – and this is really only required in 10-20% of injury cases.

So regardless of what may be said to you, biomechanics actually mean very little in the world of injury.