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Comparing Barefoot Running to an Altered Strike Pattern in Shoes: 717Board #1 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM

Altman, Allison R.; Davis, Irene S. FACSM

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: May 2011 - Volume 43 - Issue 5 - p 59
doi: 10.1249/01.MSS.0000402849.40481.5d
E-15 Thematic Poster - Running: JUNE 3, 2011 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM: ROOM: 304
Free

1University of Delaware, Newark, DE. 2Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA.

Email: aaltman@udel.edu

(No relationships reported)

Barefoot (BF) running has become increasingly popular recently. BF runners adopt a midfoot strike (MFS) or forefoot strike (FFS) pattern to avoid the discomfort of landing on their heels. This strike pattern usually results in a shorter stride length (SL). Compared with rearfoot strike (RFS) patterns, both barefoot and shod MFS and FFS landings have been shown to significantly reduce the vertical impact transients. These impact transients have been linked to a variety of running injuries. However, it is not clear whether there is any difference in impact transients between BF running and shod MFS or FFS running.

PURPOSE: To compare vertical instantaneous (VILR) and average (VALR) loadrates, along with SL of BF running to shod MFS and FFS conditions.

METHODS: 11 runners (age: 30±11.9 years) have been collected to date in this ongoing study. To be included, subjects had to have run more than 10 miles/week BF or in Vibram FiveFingers for at least a month prior to data collection. On an instrumented treadmill, subjects ran BF, and shod with a MFS and FFS pattern. A shod RFS pattern was also collected as a reference. VILR, VALR, and SL were extracted from the GRF data. Due to low subject numbers, effect sizes were used for comparison.

RESULTS: In the shod conditions, loadrates were highest in the RFS pattern and lowest in the FFS pattern. Loadrates during BF running, which was typically a FFS pattern, were most similar to those associated with shod MFS. In 5/11 subjects, loadrates were lowest during the BF condition. SL was longest in the RFS condition, and similar across the shod MFS and FFS, and BF conditions.

CONCLUSIONS: In terms of loading rates, BF running is associated most closely with a shod MFS pattern.

Support: DOD W911NF-05-1-0097

© 2011 American College of Sports Medicine