Foot strike patterns and collision forces in habitually barefoot versus shod runners In the article, “Foot strike patterns and collision forces in habitually barefoot versus shod runners” Lieberman et al. (531-535) compares the foot impacts of barefoot runners and shod runners…
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The authors, in trying to answer this question conducted a research on the regularly shod athletes in the United States and the endurance athletes of the Rift valley province of Kenya. According to the research, endurance athletes of the Rift Valley province of Kenya, while on the track land on the forefoot before they could bring down their heel. In other instances though, they land with a mid-foot strike or in other instances, though less often, on the rear-foot-strike. On the other hand, regularly shod athletes land on their rear-foot strike, facilitated by the elevated and cushioned heel of the modern shoe. While running, athletes risk injuries occurring in three ways; the rear-foot strike, where the rear foot lands first, injuries from the mid-foot strike which where the heal and the ball of the foot land at the same time and fore-foot strike, where the ball of the foot lands before the heel. While sprinters often FFS, contemporary endurance runners RFS, and as such, they should be willing to endure more body weight with every impact. According to the authors, the design of the modern running shoe makes the RFS running more comfortable as well as minimizing its injuries. The shoe, by having a large heel filled with elastic materials, allows the spread of the impact over more time, thus reducing the injury caused to the runners. With this technology therefore, the authors sought to understand how athletes, before the invention of the running shoe used to hit the ground when running. Their research methodology, which involved the comparison of kinematics on tracks at preferred endurance running speeds, considered individual runners from five groups. Using the age of the runners and their shoe wearing habits, these researchers identified the study population. Among these groups were habitually shod athletes from the USA, endurance athletes from the rift valley province of Kenya, US runners who grew up using the footwear but currently run barefoot or with minimal footwear, runners who have never won shoes and people who have for most of their lives been shod (Lieberman et al.531). The authors reveal that habitually shod runners who grew up wearing shoes, in most cases when shod RFS, although they predominantly RFS when barefoot on the same hard surfaces. On the other hand, however, individuals who grew up barefoot, or switched to barefoot running, in most cases, FFS followed by heel contact, whether shod or barefoot. Further, barefoot conditions in most cases MFS. As the research established, the cushioned sole of most of the modern running shoes, having a thickset below the heel, is the main contributing factor to the predominance of RFS in shod runners. This shoe elevates runners at least 5 degrees from the ground, and as such, the habitual unshod runners RFS less frequently. Subsequently, the shoes with elevated, cushioned heels facilitate RFS running, as the authors conclude. Further, the authors observe, that due to the differences in kinematic among foot strikes, they generate different forces of collision on the ground. By comparing this impact with the habitually shod and barefoot adult runners, all from the United States, the researchers were able to come up with this conclusion. The research also establishes that contrary to FFS whose impacts during the toe-heel-toe gaits generate ground reaction forces without a transient even when tested on a steel force plate, RFS landings cause larger
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