COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE

Lower Extremity Biomechanics and Self-Reported Foot-Strike Patterns Among Runners in Traditional and Minimalist Shoes

Donald L Goss, Michael Lewek, Bing Yu, William B Ware, Deydre S Teyhen, Michael T Gross
Journal of Athletic Training 2015, 50 (6): 603-11
26098391

CONTEXT: The injury incidence rate among runners is approximately 50%. Some individuals have advocated using an anterior-foot-strike pattern to reduce ground reaction forces and injury rates that they attribute to a rear-foot-strike pattern. The proportion of minimalist shoe wearers who adopt an anterior-foot-strike pattern remains unclear.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the accuracy of self-reported foot-strike patterns, compare negative ankle- and knee-joint angular work among runners using different foot-strike patterns and wearing traditional or minimalist shoes, and describe average vertical-loading rates.

DESIGN: Descriptive laboratory study.

SETTING: Research laboratory.

PATIENTS OR OTHER PARTICIPANTS: A total of 60 healthy volunteers (37 men, 23 women; age = 34.9 ± 8.9 years, height = 1.74 ± 0.08 m, mass = 70.9 ± 13.4 kg) with more than 6 months of experience wearing traditional or minimalist shoes were instructed to classify their foot-strike patterns.

INTERVENTION(S): Participants ran in their preferred shoes on an instrumented treadmill with 3-dimensional motion capture.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S): Self-reported foot-strike patterns were compared with 2-dimensional video assessments. Runners were classified into 3 groups based on video assessment: traditional-shoe rear-foot strikers (TSR; n = 22), minimalist-shoe anterior-foot strikers (MSA; n = 21), and minimalist-shoe rear-foot strikers (MSR; n = 17). Ankle and knee negative angular work and average vertical-loading rates during stance phase were compared among groups.

RESULTS: Only 41 (68.3%) runners reported foot-strike patterns that agreed with the video assessment (κ = 0.42, P < .001). The TSR runners demonstrated greater ankle-dorsiflexion and knee-extension negative work than MSA and MSR runners (P < .05). The MSA (P < .001) and MSR (P = .01) runners demonstrated greater ankle plantar-flexion negative work than TSR runners. The MSR runners demonstrated a greater average vertical-loading rate than MSA and TSR runners (P < .001).

CONCLUSIONS: Runners often cannot report their foot-strike patterns accurately and may not automatically adopt an anterior-foot-strike pattern after transitioning to minimalist running shoes.

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