Figure 2 Percentage of runners with each foot strike according to type of

Figure 2 percentage of runners with each foot strike

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Figure 2. Percentage of runners with each foot strike according to type of footwear. FFS, forefoot strike; MFS, midfoot strike; RFS, rearfoot strike. * P = 0.03 vs barefoot and minimalist footwear.
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SPORTS HEALTH vol. 7 no. 3 259 although both did yield significantly shorter GCTs than did traditional shoes (Figure 3). Stride Cadence and Knee Angle Both SC and KA tended to decrease as cushioning increased (Figures 4 and 5, respectively). However, there was no significant difference among the groups with respect to SC ( P = 0.20) or KA ( P = 0.37). Multivariable Analysis Considering all running biomechanics simultaneously in a multivariable model, only GCT differed between the 3 groups. With respect to individual comparisons in the adjusted model, GCT in traditional shoes was significantly higher than in both minimalist shoes ( P = 0.020) and in the socked condition ( P = 0.023). DISCUSSION Compared with traditional shoes, minimalist shoes and barefoot (socked) running facilitated a midfoot or forefoot strike in the group of experienced high school runners. Minimalist shoes and socked running resulted in a shorter GCT than traditional running shoes. Minimalist shoes also approximated socked footwear in all 4 measures of running biomechanics: foot strike, GCT, SC, and KA at ground contact. Taken together, these findings suggest that minimalist shoes and barefoot running are associated with improved running biomechanics when compared with traditional shoes by certain measures. While we did not measure VO 2 max, each of our biomechanical outcome variables has been associated with running efficiency. 5,7,8 Hasegawa et al 7 demonstrated that MFS or FFS leads to increased running efficiency. In addition, a shorter GCT correlates with a higher cadence, which may lead to greater running efficiency. 7 Heiderscheit et al 8 found that increases of 5% to 10% in SC can substantially reduce the loading on the hip and knee joints. Finally, greater flexion can reduce the peak vertical ground reaction force, suggesting that increased KA at ground contact correlates with improved running efficiency. 5 These correlations between biomechanics and efficiency suggest that minimalist shoes and barefoot footwear may improve running efficiency. The analysis of biomechanical outcomes supports previous work in the field. 7,10,11 Across all trials and regardless of the type of footwear being tested, the majority of runners (64.4%) used an RFS in this study; other studies, conducted both in road races 7,10 and over multiyear periods, 4 suggest this finding. Habitually shod American adults RFS 100% of the time, while habitually barefoot American adults RFS only 25% of the time. 11 While several studies suggest improved biomechanics and efficiency with barefoot running and/or minimalist footwear, 6,11,13 the question of whether these perceived advantages confer protection from injury remains Figure 3. Mean ground contact time (GCT; in milliseconds) according to type of footwear. Error bars represent ±1 SD.
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  • Fall '15
  • Dr. Wiersma

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