The effects of preferred and non-preferred running strike patterns on tissue vibration properties

J Sci Med Sport. 2014 Mar;17(2):218-22. doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2013.03.015. Epub 2013 May 1.


Objectives: To characterize soft tissue vibrations during running with a preferred and a non-preferred strike pattern in shoes and barefoot.

Design: Cross-sectional study.

Methods: Participants ran at 3.5 m s(-1) on a treadmill in shoes and barefoot using a rearfoot and a forefoot strike for each footwear condition. The preferred strike patterns for the subjects were a rearfoot strike and a forefoot strike for shod and barefoot running, respectively. Vibrations were recorded with an accelerometer overlying the belly of the medial gastrocnemius. Thirteen non-linearly scaled wavelets were used for the analysis. Damping was calculated as the overall decay of power in the acceleration signal post ground contact. A higher damping coefficient indicates higher damping capacities of the soft tissue.

Results: The shod rearfoot strike showed a 93% lower damping coefficient than the shod forefoot strike (p<0.001). A lower damping coefficient indicates less damping of the vibrations. The barefoot forefoot strike showed a trend toward a lower damping coefficient compared to a barefoot rearfoot strike. Running barefoot with a forefoot strike resulted in a significantly lower damping coefficient than a forefoot strike when wearing shoes (p<0.001). The shod rearfoot strike showed lower damping compared to a barefoot rearfoot strike (p<0.001). While rearfoot striking showed lower vibration frequencies in shod and barefoot running, it did not consistently result in lower damping coefficients.

Conclusions: This study showed that the use of a preferred movement resulted in lower damping coefficients of running related soft tissue vibrations.

Keywords: Barefoot; Muscles; Running; Shoes; Strike pattern; Vibration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Exercise Test
  • Forefoot, Human
  • Gait / physiology*
  • Heel
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Running / physiology*
  • Shoes
  • Vibration*
  • Wavelet Analysis
  • Young Adult