Immediate Effects of Manipulating Footwear or Cadence on the Lower Limb Biomechanics of Female Masters Runners

in Journal of Applied Biomechanics

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Jean-Francois EsculierDepartment of Physical Therapy, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Motion Analysis and Biofeedback Laboratory, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
The Running Clinic, Lac Beauport, QC, Canada
MoveMed Physiotherapy, Kelowna, BC, Canada

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Jesse M. CharltonMotion Analysis and Biofeedback Laboratory, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Rehabilitation Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada

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Natasha M. KrowchukMotion Analysis and Biofeedback Laboratory, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada

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Julia De PieriMotion Analysis and Biofeedback Laboratory, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada

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Michael A. HuntDepartment of Physical Therapy, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Motion Analysis and Biofeedback Laboratory, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada

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The objective of this study was to compare the immediate effects of modifications to footwear or cadence on lower limb biomechanics of female Masters runners. After analyzing habitual treadmill running biomechanics in 20 female runners (52.4 [8.3] y), we assessed the effects of 5 conditions: (1) barefoot running, (2) Merrell Vapor Glove, (3) Merrell Bare Access, (4) Brooks Pure Flow, and (5) increasing cadence by 10%. In comparison with habitual biomechanics, greater vertical loading rates of the ground reaction force were observed during running barefoot or with a Merrell Vapor Glove or Bare Access. There was high variability among participants as to changes in foot kinematics during the conditions. Running barefoot (−26.0%) and with a Merrell Vapor Glove (−12.5%) reduced sagittal plane knee moments, but increased sagittal plane ankle moments (both 6.1%). Increasing cadence by 10% resulted in a more modest decrease in knee flexion moments (−7.7%) without increasing peak external ankle dorsiflexion moments. When asked if they would prefer minimalist shoes or increasing cadence, 11 participants (55%) chose cadence and 9 (45%) chose footwear. Minimalist footwear decreased sagittal knee moments, but increased vertical loading rate and sagittal ankle moments. Increasing cadence may be useful to lower sagittal knee moments without increasing ankle moments.

Supplementary Materials

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