Foot pain when midfoot-forefoot or barefoot running

  • 13 August 2014
  • Laura Dutton

So natural running has been so popular over the past few years and still continues to lure runners to change their technique to run "Barefoot", "Midfoot-forefoot", "Forefoot", "Midfoot" - whatever you want to call it, it's essentially the same type of technique branded in different ways.

We see a number of runners that convert their technique gradually and successfully, changing their running style to midfoot-forefoot, but when they start increasing their mileage or speed they start to find they get pain either on the outside of their foot, or pain under the metatarsals.

In most cases this is due to over-striding and reaching too far forward with the foot, which then leads the foot to rotate to the lateral side (outside) of the foot as shown in this picture...


To combat this we recommend trying to shorten your stride and increase your cadence (how quickly your foot turns around) so that your feet touch the ground more times, but are in contact with the ground for less time. We really need the foot to land almost flat with a slight tilt to the lateral side, before then easing down into a neutral position.This can also be helped by grabbing a speed rope and practice your skipping! When practiced well this will do a number of things for your technique

  • Get you learning to land flat! You can't over-stride when skipping, so you get more used to landing in the correct place
  • It helps you keep your chin up and shoulders back - Good technique means you run upright, and don't lean forward or "hinge" at the hips
  • It will help you to land softer and quicker! Ideal barefoot running cadence is approx 180 steps per minute

Translate this to your running and that over-stride should disappear along with the pain.

Click the image to order speed rope direct from Running Form only £4.50 each enter code "PFBLOG" to get free shipping


About Laura Dutton

Laura Dutton Physiotherapist

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