Background: Recreational runners frequently suffer from chronic pathologies. The knee and ankle have been highlighted as common injury sites. Barefoot and barefoot inspired footwear have been cited as treatment modalities for running injuries as opposed to more conventional running shoes. This investigation examined knee and ankle loading in barefoot and barefoot inspired footwear in relation to conventional running shoes.
Method: Thirty recreational male runners underwent 3D running analysis at 4.0m·s(-1). Joint moments, patellofemoral contact force and pressure and Achilles tendon forces were compared between footwear.
Findings: At the knee the results show that barefoot and barefoot inspired footwear were associated with significant reductions in patellofemoral kinetic parameters. The ankle kinetics indicate that barefoot and barefoot inspired footwear were associated with significant increases in Achilles tendon force compared to conventional shoes.
Interpretation: Barefoot and barefoot inspired footwear may serve to reduce the incidence of knee injuries in runners although corresponding increases in Achilles tendon loading may induce an injury risk at this tendon.
Keywords: Achilles tendon load; Barefoot; Minimalist footwear; Patellofemoral contact.
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