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


Tags: biomechanics, barefoot, orthotics, counter-intuitive, etiology, pro, foot, leg, limbs, pain problems, running, exercise, self-treatment, treatment, devices

One article on PainSci cites Goss 2015: Does barefoot running prevent injuries?

PainSci notes on Goss 2015:

This test of running styles found that actual style — rearfoot or forefoot striking — was variable regardless of shoe type, and that runners can’t accurately report their own style, suggesting that “lots of people are fooling themselves about how they’re running” (Hutchinson). What you put on your feet does not necessarily change how you run.

original abstract Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.

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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Specifically regarding Goss 2015:

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