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The purpose of the current study was to examine rearfoot motion using three-dimensional recording techniques and shoes with varying heel counter rigidity. The results showed that only the more rigid shoes tended to create significant differences between calcaneal and shoe heel eversion during ground contact, except close to heel-strike. The rigid shoe thus resisted eversional forces. The calcaneus, however, was not prevented from slipping within the shoe and from everting as much or nearly as fast as in a shoe with a more flexible heel counter. In order to simulate two-dimensional recording techniques commonly used in rearfoot studies, a two-dimensional reduction of the original three-dimensional angular data was performed. However, the results produced were similar if torsional movement between the foot and shoe was ignored.
The authors are with the Laboratory of Biomechanics, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Pleinlaan, 2, 1050 Brussel, Belgium.