The width of your running step may have a significant impact upon your performance and injury risk. Step width is the distance between each foot's mid-heel position at initial contact with the ground. Brindle et al 2014 reported that the healthy runners in their study had a mean step width of 6cm. He had them run with a narrower step width (1cm) and a wider step width (15cm). The narrower step resulted in changes to the runners technique, they had greater rearfoot eversion angle and knee adduction; both of these variables have been linked to increased injury risk.


 Widening step width (up to 10cm) has been reported to reduce that loading upon the tibia (Meardon 2014), while a step width of -6cm resulted in increased IT Band strain (Meardon 2012). Widening your step width may help to avoid or recover form shin and IT Band injuries.

There may be a risk of decreased performance with running with a wider step width than you are used to. Arellano (2011) reported increased energy cost of running. A narrow step minimises the medial-lateral ground reaction forces.

If your step width is below 3-6cm it may well be worth making adjustments to your running technique. As a cross over gait has been linked to weak hip abductor muscles it is important to start a strengthening regime for these muscles as well.