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Forefoot stiffness has been shown to influence joint biomechanics. However, little or no data exist on metatarsophalangeal stiffness. Twenty-four healthy rearfoot strike runners were recruited from a staff and student population at the University of Central Lancashire. Five repetitions of shod, self-selected speed level walking, and jogging were performed. Kinetic and kinematic data were collected using retroreflective markers placed on the lower limb and foot to create a 3-segment foot model using the calibrated anatomical system technique. Ankle and metatarsophalangeal moments and angles were calculated. Stiffness values were calculated using a linear best fit line of moment versus of angle plots. Paired t tests were used to compare values between walking and jogging conditions. Significant differences were seen in ankle range of motion, but not in metatarsophalangeal range of motion. Maximum moments were significantly greater in the ankle during jogging, but these were not significantly different at the metatarsophalangeal joint. Average ankle joint stiffness exhibited significantly lower stiffness when walking compared with jogging. However, the metatarsophalangeal joint exhibited significantly greater stiffness when walking compared with jogging. A greater understanding of forefoot stiffness may inform the development of footwear, prosthetic feet, and orthotic devices, such as ankle foot orthoses for walking and sporting activities.
Mager, Hennies, Dötzel, and Capanni are with the Faculty of Mechatronics and Medical Engineering, Ulm University of Applied Sciences, Ulm, Germany. Richards, Chohan, and Mbuli are with Allied Health Research Unit, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, United Kingdom.