Postgraduate Profiles

Sarah Stearne

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Thesis: Influence of the Foot's Anatomy and Posture on the Mechanics and Energetics of Running

Controversy currently surrounds the most efficient running foot strike technique. While majority of runners strike the ground with their heel first (rearfoot strike), a larger percentage of elite runners make initial contact with the ball of their foot (forefoot strike). My research will explore the lower limb mechanics and energetics of a rearfoot versus a forefoot strike technique. More specifically, my research will investigate lower limb joint mechanical work and the passive-elastic mechanisms in the arch of the foot, in both foot strike techniques. My research will also explore the consequences of changing to an un-natural technique.

Why my research is important

An extremely large number of runners experience injuries each year, with my research I hope to reduce this number by educating coaches and athletes on the mechanical demands of different foot strike techniques and the consequences of switching. My research will also increase our knowledge on the function of the arch of the foot during running and when using different foot strike techniques, this could have important implications for coaches, athletes, footwear design, orthotic prescription and orthosis design.


Mar 2010

Apr 2014