Rocker profile shoes (rocker shoes) are one of the treatment options of metatarsalgia and forefoot stress fractures. The efficacy of rocker shoes in unloading the forefoot pressure has been shown in walking. In running, however, the effect of rocker shoes on forefoot pressure is unknown. Eighteen healthy female runners participated in this study. In-shoe plantar pressures were recorded during running with the standard running shoes and rocker shoes. Shoe comfort was assessed after each shoe measurement. Peak pressure (PP), maximum mean pressure (MMP) and force-time integral (FTI) were determined for seven foot areas. The effects of shoes on the different outcome variables were statistically analyzed using a linear mixed model. Running with the rocker shoes caused a significant reduction (p<0.001) in all pressure parameters in the central and lateral forefoot. FTI and MMP were also reduced by 11% and 12% in the medial forefoot while running with rocker shoes. Running with rocker shoes resulted in a significant increase in all pressure parameters at the heel region (p<0.001). Running with rocker shoes received a significant (p<0.01) lower comfort rate than running with standard running shoes. Rocker shoes might be beneficial for runners who are recovering from metatarsalgia or stress fractures of the forefoot region, as it reduces plantar pressure in the forefoot region.
Keywords: Overuse injuries; Plantar loading; Rocker bottom shoe; Rocker sole.
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