Effects of the toe-only rocker on gait kinematics and kinetics in able-bodied persons

IEEE Trans Neural Syst Rehabil Eng. 2005 Dec;13(4):542-50. doi: 10.1109/TNSRE.2005.858460.


Rocker sole shoes are commonly prescribed to diabetic patients with insensate feet. Recent passage of the therapeutic shoe bill has drawn an increased focus on prescription of rehabilitative footwear. The purpose of this work is to investigate the dynamics of lower extremity joints (hip, knee, and ankle) with the application of a toe-only rocker sole shoe under controlled laboratory conditions. Forty (40) normal adults volunteered for gait analysis using controlled baseline and prescription toe-only rocker sole shoes. Three-dimensional motion analysis techniques were used to acquire kinematic and kinetic data using a six camera Vicon 370 motion system and two AMTI force plates. While significant changes from baseline to toe-only rocker were noted in cadence (increased) and stride length (decreased), no significant change in walking speed was observed. The most significant kinematic changes with the application of the toe-only shoe occurred at the ankle and knee in the sagittal plane during stance. The most significant kinetic effects were observed in the hip and knee during swing phase. Changes in power were noted at all joints, mostly in terminal stance. These kinematic and kinetic changes, along with previously studied effects of pressure relief at the metatarsal heads, should aid medical professionals in prescribing prophylactic footwear.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ankle Joint / physiology*
  • Biomechanical Phenomena / methods
  • Equipment Design
  • Equipment Failure Analysis
  • Female
  • Gait / physiology*
  • Hip Joint / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Kinetics
  • Knee Joint / physiology*
  • Locomotion / physiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology
  • Shoes*
  • Torque