Biomechanics of slow running and walking with a rocker shoe
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Evidence suggests a link between the loading of the Achilles tendon and the magnitude of the ankle internal plantar flexion moment during late stance of gait, which is clinically relevant in the management of Achilles tendinopathy. Some studies showed that rocker shoes can reduce the ankle internal plantar flexion moment. However, the existing evidence is not conclusive and focused on walking and scarce in running. Sixteen healthy runners participated in this study. Lower extremity kinetics, kinematics and electromyographic (EMG) signals of triceps surae and tibialis anterior were quantified for two types of shoes during running and walking. The peak ankle plantar flexion moment was reduced significantly in late stance of running (0.27 Nm/kg; p<0.001) and walking (0.24 Nm/kg; p<0.001) with the rocker shoe compared to standard shoe. The ankle power generation and plantar flexion moment impulse were also reduced significantly when running and walking with the rocker shoe (p<0.001). No significant changes in the knee and hip moments were found in running and walking. A significant delay of the EMG peak, approximately 2% (p<0.001), was present in the triceps surae when walking with rocker shoes. There were no significant changes in the EMG peak amplitude of triceps surae in running and walking. The peak amplitude of tibialis anterior was significantly increased (64.7 μV, p<0.001) when walking with rocker shoes. The findings show that rocker shoes reduce the ankle plantar flexion moment during the late stance phase of running and walking in healthy people.
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