Forefoot-rearfoot coupling patterns and tibial internal rotation during stance phase of barefoot versus shod running

Mansour Eslami, Mickaël Begon, Nader Farahpour, Paul Allard
Clinical Biomechanics 2007, 22 (1): 74-80

BACKGROUND: Based on twisted plate and mitered hinge models of the foot and ankle, forefoot-rearfoot coupling motion patterns can contribute to the amount of tibial rotation. The present study determined the differences of forefoot-rearfoot coupling patterns as well as excessive excursion of tibial internal rotation in shod versus barefoot conditions during running.

METHODS: Sixteen male subjects ran 10 times at 170 steps per minute under the barefoot and shod conditions. Forefoot-rearfoot coupling motions were assessed by measuring mean relative phase angle during five intervals of stance phase for the main effect of five time intervals and two conditions (ANOVA, P<0.05). Tibial internal rotation excursion was compared between the shod and barefoot conditions over the first 50% of stance phase using paired t-test, (P<0.05).

FINDINGS: Forefoot adduction/abduction and rearfoot eversion/inversion coupling motion patterns were significantly different between the conditions and among the intervals (P<0.05; effect size=0.47). The mean absolute relative angle was significantly modified to 37 degrees in-phase relationship at the heel-strike of running with shoe wears. No significant differences were noted in the tibial internal rotation excursion between shod and barefoot conditions.

INTERPRETATION: Significant variations in the forefoot adduction/abduction and rearfoot eversion/inversion coupling patterns could have little effect on the amount of tibial internal rotation excursion. Yet it remains to be determined whether changes in the frontal plane forefoot-rearfoot coupling patterns influence the tibia kinematics for different shoe wears or foot orthotic interventions. The findings question the rational for the prophylactic use of forefoot posting in foot orthoses.

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