The influence of barefoot and barefoot inspired footwear on the kinetics and kinematics of running in comparison to conventional running shoes.

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Sinclair, Jonathan Kenneth ; Greenhalgh, Andrew ; Brooks, Darrell ; Edmundson, Christopher James ; Hobbs, Sarah Jane (2012)

Barefoot running has experienced a resurgence in footwear biomechanics literature, based on the supposition that it serves to reduce the occurrence of overuse injuries in comparison to conventional shoe models. This consensus has lead footwear manufacturers to develop shoes which aim to mimic the mechanics of barefoot locomotion. \ud This study compared the impact kinetics and 3-D joint angular kinematics observed whilst running: barefoot, in conventional cushioned running shoes and in shoes designed to integrate the perceived benefits of barefoot locomotion. The aim of the current investigation was therefore to determine whether differences in impact kinetics exist between the footwear conditions and whether shoes which aim to simulate barefoot movement patterns can closely mimic the 3-D kinematics of barefoot running.\ud Twelve participants ran at 4.0 m.s-1±5% in each footwear condition. Angular joint kinematics from the hip, knee and ankle in the sagittal, coronal and transverse planes were measured using an eight camera motion analysis system. In addition simultaneous tibial acceleration and ground reaction forces were obtained. Impact parameters and joint kinematics were subsequently compared using repeated measures ANOVAs. \ud The kinematic analysis indicates that in comparison to the conventional and barefoot inspired shoes that running barefoot was associated significantly greater plantar-flexion at footstrike and range of motion to peak dorsiflexion. Furthermore, the kinetic analysis revealed that compared to the conventional footwear impact parameters were significantly greater in the barefoot condition.\ud Therefore this study suggests that barefoot running is associated with impact kinetics linked to an increased risk of overuse injury, when compared to conventional shod running. Furthermore, the mechanics of the shoes which aim to simulate barefoot movement patterns do not appear to closely mimic the kinematics of barefoot locomotion.
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