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Caleb D. Johnson and Irene S. Davis

Higher medial–lateral forces have been reported in individuals with stiffer foot arches. However, this was in a small sample of military personnel who ran with a rearfoot strike pattern. Therefore, our purpose was to investigate whether runners, both rearfoot and forefoot strikers, show different associations between medial–lateral forces and arch stiffness. A group of 118 runners (80 rearfoot strikers and 38 forefoot strikers) were recruited. Ground reaction force data were collected during running on an instrumented treadmill. Arch flexibility was assessed as the difference in arch height from sitting to standing positions, and participants were classified into stiff/flexible groups. Group comparisons were performed for the ratio of medial:vertical and lateral:vertical impulses. In rearfoot strikers, runners with stiff arches demonstrated significantly higher medial:vertical impulse ratios (P = .036). Forefoot strikers also demonstrated higher proportions of medial forces; however, the mean difference did not reach statistical significance (P = .084). No differences were detected in the proportion of lateral forces between arch flexibility groups. Consistent with previous findings in military personnel, our results indicate that recreational runners with stiffer arches have a higher proportion of medial forces. Therefore, increasing foot flexibility may increase the ability to attenuate medial forces.

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Alice D. LaGoy, Caleb Johnson, Katelyn F. Allison, Shawn D. Flanagan, Mita T. Lovalekar, Takashi Nagai, and Chris Connaboy

Warfighter performance may be compromised through the impact of load carriage on dynamic postural stability. Men and women may experience this impact to differing extents due to postural stability differences. Therefore, the authors investigated the effect of load magnitude on dynamic postural stability in men and women during a landing and stabilization task. Dynamic postural stability of 32 subjects (16 women) was assessed during the unilateral landing of submaximal jumps under 3 load conditions: +0%, +20%, and +30% body weight. Dynamic postural stability was measured using the dynamic postural stability index, which is calculated from ground reaction force data sampled at 1200 Hz. Two-way mixed-measures analysis of variance compared dynamic postural stability index scores between sexes and loads. Dynamic postural stability index scores were significantly affected by load (P = .001) but not by sex or by the sex by load interaction (P > .05). Dynamic postural stability index scores increased between the 0% (0.359 ± 0.041), 20% (0.396 ± 0.034), and 30% (0.420 ± 0.028) body weight conditions. Increased load negatively affects dynamic postural stability with similar performance decrements displayed by men and women. Men and women warfighters may experience similar performance decrements under load carriage conditions of similar relative magnitudes.