Running Technique: Stride Width, Shin Splints & ITB Syndrome

Stride width varies so much from runner to runner, and is one of the subtleties of running form that is difficult to re-train by simply trying to ‘run differently’… most people over-correct!

Rather, I usually see the best stride width improvements in athletes who focus on gluteal strengthening and lateral movement drills.

As mentioned in the video above, there is a growing, although currently modest body of evidence to back-up the biologically/biomechanically plausible principals suggesting that a slight increase in stride width may be beneficial in some runners suffering from specific injuries such as ITB Syndrome and Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (Shin Splints).

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ITB Syndrome

Rather than repost the same information, here’s an article I wrote about ITB Syndrome and Stride Width: Read Now

Tibial Stress

Meardon & Derrick’s 2014 research read abstract here looked at the effect of step width manipulation on tibial stress during running. This was focused more on the stress experienced by the tibial itself during different stride widths, rather than the soft tissue loading I discussed in the video.

The authors conclude their abstract in saying: Wider step widths were generally associated with reduced loading of the tibia and may benefit runners at risk of or experiencing stress injury at the tibia, especially if they present with a crossover running style.

Conclusion

Food for thought. A combination of interesting research, anecdote and theory! All I’ll say is that stride width is something I’ve taken into account with running rehab clients more-and-more over the last 12 months, with positive results…

Last updated on June 10th, 2019.
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4 Comments

  1. Thanks for the video James; interesting as always. I know I have a narrow stride width as it came up on gait analysis I undertook. I am trying a number of things to alleviate sinus tarsi pain and am thinking this is worth a try. Do you have any tips on how someone start to widen their stride width? Is it just a case of visualising more space between the knees? Thanks.

  2. Hi James,
    I am treating a runner right now, young female, who is suffering from recurrent MTSS (no ITB problem so far). She has had running gait analysis done, and orthotics recommended which have helped a bit but not solved the MTSS. From the video running analysis 2 things are interesting but I don’t fully understand the relevance yet so I’m looking for help from experts in the field like you! 1) She is much more stable running barefoot than in shoes 2) One leg crosses over to the midline more than the other during running. Is it typical to see cross over only on one side in runners and could this be related to MTSS and calf strain on her longer runs? Is it possibly a one sided stride width issue and/or weak glutes on the one side?

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