Whilst playing any sort of indoor sports, a number of people have commented on how loudly I run, it's like I'm stomping around the hall and I'm especially noisy when trying to slow myself down - to quote someone yesterday I run a little bit like "dogs run in cartoons" :D

This is obviously something I really need to sort out, and I think is possibly a big contributing factor to my fairly severe Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS)

So for the sake of my knees, and for the sake of the eardrums of people I play sports with (as well as improving my overall game etc) can anyone please give me some basic advice on what I could be doing wrong please? I think I generally run quite flat-footed, but looking around I've found many people advising you should run almost on your tip toes, but just as many people saying to land on on the ball of your foot underneath your heel.

By the way, I do not do any sort of long, or even medium distance running - the only time I run is when playing sports (football/badminton)

Thank you

3 Answers 3


There is a certain technique of foot strike that runners use for distance running, and that's known as midfoot striking.

Your issue, commonly known as runner's knee, seems to be likely from the biomechanical issue discussed in this article. In essence, if your footfalls are striking hard on the heel, then the entire shock of the impact is traveling directly up your shin to the first flexible part that can dissipate that energy: your knee.

This video explains the difference between three running styles. Beginners tend to gravitate toward heel-striking, because that's what we're used to, from the time we're children.

By striking at the midfoot instead, the shock is distributed more evenly and dissipated before it gets to your knee. But posture alone won't always be the solution. Sometimes, we do have to rely on proper equipment, and that means the right shoes for the job.

Some advocate barefoot or minimal-shoe running because it more closely mimics our ancestral method of running. I am personally not a barefoot/minimal runner for various reasons, so I wear a particular style of shoe that fits my running style. This is just an illustration that running shoes and styles are individualized preferences, but that finding the right shoes for your style can make a world of difference.

When I was running with the wrong shoes, I could barely get a mile and a half before one of my knees would start throbbing in excruciating pain. I felt disheartened because I was training for my first half-marathon. I visited a running store and got fitted for the proper shoes and miraculously, I was better. My knees didn't hurt, and while I had to skip that half-marathon, I did manage to complete one that followed later in the year.

The problem was that I was wearing shoes that were too lightweight and also fitted exactly to my regular size, rather than a size and a half larger to allow for room for the toes to move.

I would not recommend running on your toes, but for indoor sports that require a lot of twists, turns, starts, and stops, making the primary point of impact the ball of your foot may provide more performance gains. There will be more flexibility and quickness, less energy wasted in starting and stopping as with heel-strike styles, less wear and tear on your joints by allowing your feet to absorb the impact rather than your knees, and most definitely quieter!

While the form recommendations in the links I provided focus more on distance running, the mechanics and theories can be translated fairly easily to your situation.

  • Thank you so much for the great response, I think I definitely heel strike when I run (and walk! the heel on my shoes always gets worn far quicker than any other part) so I shall go to a running store and get some proper shoes for my running style :) interesting point about getting a larger sizes too, my current running shoes are a little tight if anything so that could be part of the problem.
    – Nick
    Feb 17, 2014 at 15:51
  • I think using the balls of my foot will definitely be a lot better for my knee too as you suggested, and it's a nice bonus that it'll be quieter! :) Mostly though I just want to try to get my knee fixed, so the less impact on the knee, the better.
    – Nick
    Feb 17, 2014 at 15:53

I have played around with this subject too, especially when I run in my huarache sandals. They slap the ground quite loudly and you can hear me coming a mile away. I read a good tip to combat this problem. When you're running, try to imagine that you are running on delicate rice paper. Land as if you're trying your best not to tear the paper - run softly, no paw-back, minimal contact time. I can tell a big difference in my running form when I run with this imagery in mind.


most probably your using to much of your heel like i used to, when you run or even walk for that matter, always pounce off from cushioned part of the foot underneath the toes (i know you understand what i mean), trust me its nothing to do with some knee syndrome or anything like that, thats simply finding a complicated answer for a simple question. just don't use your heel as the first point of contact when your foot comes down

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