Purpose: The purpose of this study was to quantify changes in foot eversion and tibial rotation during running resulting from systematic changes of material composition of five shoe inserts of the same shape.
Methods: Tests were performed with 12 subjects. The inserts had a bilayer design using two different materials at the top and bottom of the insert. The functional kinematic variables examined in this study were the foot-leg in-eversion angle, beta, and the leg-foot tibial rotation, rho. Additionally, the subject characteristics of arch height, relative arch deformation, and active range of motion were quantified. The statistical analysis used was a two way repeated measures MANOVA (within trials and inserts).
Results: The average group changes resulting from the studied inserts in total shoe eversion, total foot eversion, and total internal tibial rotation were typically smaller than 1 degree when compared with the no-insert condition and were statistically not significant. The measured ranges of total foot eversion for all subjects were smallest for the softest and about twice as large for the hardest insert construction. Thus, the soft insert construction was more restrictive, forcing all feet into a similar movement pattern, whereas the harder combinations allowed for more individual variation of foot and leg movement and did not force the foot into a preset movement pattern. The individual results showed substantial differences between subjects and a trend: Subjects who generally showed a reduction of tibial rotation with all tested inserts typically had a flexible foot. However, subjects who generally showed an increase of tibial rotation typically had a stiff foot.
Conclusions: The results of this study suggest that subject specific factors such as static, dynamic, and neuro-physiological characteristics of foot and leg are important to match specific feet and shoe inserts optimally.