Could transitioning to a more forefoot strike cause my problems?

edited September 2013 in Running Injuries
I started running a while ago and got myself up to regular runs of 6-10 miles, and then - like most people - found my way to a certain revolutionary running book which resulted in me changing my shoes to a pair of zero drop Merrell and changing my running form to a more forefoot contact although I was never a heavy heel striker to begin with.  

Even though I thought I was taking it easy with no runs of longer than 3 miles after building up for a few months I ended up with a stress fracture to my shin and was forced to take a couple of months off, which turned into 7 months off and a lot of long distance cycling.

Fast forward to now and I have started running again. Due to my extended time off and my fear of breaking down I started off with running a mile or two once or twice a week in my new Hoka Stinsons and everything was going great (I even managed a 6 mile run with my running club).  When my wife decided to start running I thought I'd join her as a real beginner with run/walking and try transitioning to a pair of Inov-8 155s and a pair of XeroShoes huaraches.

After getting us doing 2 minutes run/2 minutes walk for 5 repeats twice this week I have developed shin splints again.  Could this be down to me running in minimalist shoes with a forefoot contact? I have found a few papers which seem to suggest this may be the case and was wondering if Pete or anyone else had found or heard of similar issues?

I'm going to go back to my Hoka to continue the beginner plan after taking a week out to let my shins recover.  I'll tell you what happens, but any other ideas or evidence I might not be the only person on earth unable to run like this will be gratefully received!!


  • I had a similar problem earlier this year with shin splints that just would not go away. I finally figured out that it wasn't what I wore when I was running. It was the shoes I wore when I wasn't running. It was my work boots. Started wearing old ones again and no more shin splints.
  • A forefoot strike helped me from suffering shin splints during running. Heel striking is my enemy.
  • A forefootstrike doesn't say anything as long as we don't know what the rest of your body is doing during running / how your running form is. If you tip on your toes, land with your foot way in front of your body, or use a active push-off with your toes, it may all be a forefootstrike, but it may also lead to injuries.
  • Good points there Rudy.

    I know (as well as I can without paying for very expensive state of the art cameras :-)) that I don't overstride no matter how I land, but I am pretty certain that have an active push off with my toes.

    I'm pretty new to thinking about form and everything so I'm probably saying some basic things people hear every day in my post, I was just a bit surprised to see articles suggesting a correlation between injury and forefoot strike when the majority seem to say the opposite and thought I'd see what more experienced people knew.
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