The Preferred Movement Path Paradigm: Influence of Running Shoes on Joint Movement

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Abstract

Purpose

(A) To quantify differences in lower extremity joint kinematics for groups of runners subjected to different running footwear conditions, and (B) to quantify differences in lower extremity joint kinematics on an individual basis for runners subjected to different running footwear conditions.

Methods

Three-dimensional ankle and knee joint kinematics were collected for 35 heel–toe runners when wearing three different running shoes and when running barefoot. Absolute mean differences in ankle and knee joint kinematics were computed between running shoe conditions. The percentage of individual runners who displayed differences below a 2°, 3°, and 5° threshold were also calculated.

Results

The results indicate that the mean kinematics of the ankle and knee joints were similar between running shoe conditions. Aside from ankle dorsiflexion and knee flexion, the percentage of runners maintaining their movement path between running shoes (i.e., less than 3°) was in the order of magnitude of about 80% to 100%. Many runners showed ankle and knee joint kinematics that differed between a conventional running shoe and barefoot by more than 3°, especially for ankle dorsiflexion and knee flexion.

Conclusions

Many runners stay in the same movement path (the preferred movement path) when running in various different footwear conditions. The percentage of runners maintaining their preferred movement path depends on the magnitude of the change introduced by the footwear condition.

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