To examine the effects of increased cadence and minimalist footwear on lower-limb variability in runners with patellofemoral pain (PFP).
Fifteen (12 female, 3 male) runners with PFP ran on an instrumented treadmill with three-dimensional motion capture in three randomly ordered conditions: (i) standard shoe at preferred cadence, (ii) standard shoe +10% cadence, and (iii) minimalist shoe at preferred cadence. Vector coding was used to calculate coordination variability between strides for select lower-limb joint couplings. Approximate entropy was calculated to assess continuous variability for segment kinematic and kinetic data and compared between conditions using repeated-measures ANOVA. One-dimensional statistical parametric mapping repeated-measures ANOVA was performed on the coordination variability data. Cohen’s d effect size was calculated for all comparisons.
Larger approximate entropy values (i.e., greater variability) were observed for the standard shoe +10% cadence versus the standard shoe at preferred cadence for hip flexion/extension (P < 0.001; d = 1.12), hip adduction/abduction (P < 0.001; d = 0.99) and ankle dorsiflexion/plantarflexion (P < 0.001; d = 1.37) kinematics, and knee flexion/extension moments (P < 0.001; d = 0.93). Greater variability was also observed in the minimalist shoe versus the standard shoe at preferred cadence for hip internal/external rotation moments (P < 0.001; d = 0.76), knee adduction/abduction moments (P < 0.001; d = 0.51), and knee internal/external rotation moments (P < 0.001; d = 1.02). One-dimensional statistical parametric mapping repeated-measures ANOVA revealed no significant differences in coordination variability between running conditions.
Greater hip and knee kinematic and kinetic variability observed with either increased cadence or minimalist footwear may be beneficial for those with PFP.