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This study investigated the phenomenon of kinematic asymmetry of the lower limbs in distance runners. The subjects, 29 male distance runners, were recorded by high-speed filming while running on a motor driven treadmill under two experimental conditions (with running shoes and barefoot). Twelve selected kinematic variables were subjected to multivariate statistical analysis. It was demonstrated that the lower limbs of distance runners possess a multifaceted kinematic asymmetry for touchdown and foot contact as well as for the entire phase of foot support of the running stride. Significant kinematic asymmetries were found in the lower leg angle, rearfoot angle, mediolateral velocity of the foot, and in some temporal variables. Contemporary running shoes seem to significantly change the degree of rearfoot control asymmetry observed in normal barefoot running. The findings of the present study confirm previous data suggesting that the phenomenon of kinematic asymmetry in runners is warranted.
George Vagenas is with the Human Ergometry Lab, Dept. of Athletic Education, Hellenic Air Force Academy, Athens, Greece. Blaine Hoshizaki is with the Dept. of Physical Education, McGill University, 475 Pine Ave. West, Montreal, P.Q., Canada H2W 1S4.