The main purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of both strike pattern (forefoot vs. rearfoot strike pattern) and orthotic intervention on shock to the lower extremity. Semi-rigid orthotic devices were manufactured for 15 injury-free recreational runners. Tibial accelerometry, ground reaction force, and 3D kinematic data were collected on their right leg in four conditions: forefoot strike (FFS) and rearfoot strike (RFS) with and without orthotics. Two-way repeated-measures analysis of variance tests were used to assess the effects of strike pattern and orthotic intervention on tibial acceleration; angular excursions of the ankle and knee; ground reaction force (GRF) vertical and anteroposterior peaks and load rates; and ankle, knee, and leg stiffness. There was a significant increase in tibial acceleration for the FFS pattern compared to the RFS pattern. This may be explained in part by the significantly greater peak vertical GRF, peak anteroposterior GRF, anteroposterior GRF load rates, knee stiffness, and leg stiffness found in the FFS pattern compared to the RFS pattern. Tibial acceleration and rearfoot eversion excursions were similar between the orthotic and no-orthotic conditions. Knee flexion excursion and average GRF vertical load rates were significantly decreased while dorsiflexion excursion and knee stiffness were significantly increased in the orthotic condition. No significant interactions were found between strike pattern and orthotic condition for any variables assessed.
C. Laughton, Motion Analysis Lab, Shriners Hospital, 3551 N. Broad St. Philadelphia, PA 19140; I. McClay Davis, Dept. of Physical Therapy, Univ. of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716; J. Hamill, Dept. of Exercise Science, Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003.