Rearfoot Strike Run Retraining for Achilles Tendon Pain: A Two-patient Case Series

Brittney Mazzone Gunterstockman, Jennifer Carmel, Laura Bechard, Adam Yoder, Shawn Farrokhi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Running-related injuries are prevalent in the military and are often related to physical fitness test training. Non-rearfoot striking while running is known to increase the risk of Achilles tendon injuries because of the high eccentric energy absorption by the elastic components of the planarflexor muscle-tendon complex. However, there is limited evidence to suggest benefits of converting runners with Achilles tendon pain to use a rearfoot strike. Methods: This is a case series of two active-duty Service members with chronic, running-related Achilles tendon pain that utilized a natural non-rearfoot strike pattern. Both patients were trained to utilize a rearfoot strike while running through the use of real-time visual feedback from wearable sensors. Results: The trained rearfoot strike pattern was retained for over one month after the intervention, and both patients reported improvements in pain and self-reported function. Conclusions: This case series demonstrated the clinical utility of converting two non-rearfoot strike runners to a rearfoot strike pattern to decrease eccentric demands on the plantarflexors and reduce Achilles tendon pain while running.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e942-e947
JournalMilitary Medicine
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - 1 May 2024
Externally publishedYes


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