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European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 113, Issue 8, pp 2077–2090 | Cite as

Impact reduction through long-term intervention in recreational runners: midfoot strike pattern versus low-drop/low-heel height footwear

  • Marlène GiandoliniEmail author
  • Nicolas Horvais
  • Yohann Farges
  • Pierre Samozino
  • Jean-Benoît Morin
Original Article

Abstract

Impact reduction has become a factor of interest in the prevention of running-related injuries such as stress fractures. Currently, the midfoot strike pattern (MFS) is thought as a potential way to decrease impact. The purpose was to test the effects of two long-term interventions aiming to reduce impact during running via a transition to an MFS: a foot strike retraining versus a low-drop/low-heel height footwear. Thirty rearfoot strikers were randomly assigned to two experimental groups (SHOES and TRAIN). SHOES progressively wore low-drop/low-heel height shoes and TRAIN progressively adopted an MFS, over a 3-month period with three 30-min running sessions per week. Measurement sessions (pre-training, 1, 2 and 3 months) were performed during which subjects were equipped with three accelerometers on the shin, heel and metatarsals, and ran for 15 min on an instrumented treadmill. Synchronized acceleration and vertical ground reaction force signals were recorded. Peak heel acceleration was significantly lower as compared to pre-training for SHOES (−33.5 ± 12.8 % at 2 months and −25.3 ± 18.8 % at 3 months, p < 0.001), and so was shock propagation velocity (−12.1 ± 9.3 %, p < 0.001 at 2 months and −11.3 ± 4.6 %, p < 0.05 at 3 months). No change was observed for TRAIN. Important inter-individual variations were noted in both groups and reported pains were mainly located at the shin and calf. Although it induced reversible pains, low-drop/low-heel height footwear seemed to be more effective than foot strike retraining to attenuate heel impact in the long term.

Keywords

Running pattern Impact Midfoot strike Footwear Retraining 

Abbreviations

BW

Body weight

Fmax

Maximal vertical ground reaction force

Fq

Step frequency

Fz1

Magnitude of impact force peak

LR

Vertical mean loading rate

MFS

Midfoot strike

PHA

Peak heel acceleration

PMA

Peak metatarsal acceleration

PTA

Peak tibial acceleration

PRS

Preferred running speed

RFS

Rearfoot strike

SPV

Shock propagation velocity between heel and tibia

tc

Contact time

ta

Aerial time

\(t_{{f}_{z1}}\)

Time to impact peak

Thm

Time between heel and metatarsals peak accelerations

VGRF

Vertical ground reaction force

Notes

Acknowledgments

We are grateful to Drs. Pascal Edouard, Jean-Claude Chatard, Amaury Mazet, and David Hupin, from the Service de Physiologie Clinique, Médecine du Sport—Myologie, CHU Bellevue, Saint-Etienne for their help in the inclusion sessions and medical follow-up of the study. Salomon SAS supported this study through an MSc studentship grant allocated to Marlène Giandolini.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marlène Giandolini
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 5
    Email author
  • Nicolas Horvais
    • 3
  • Yohann Farges
    • 3
  • Pierre Samozino
    • 4
  • Jean-Benoît Morin
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.University of LyonSaint EtienneFrance
  2. 2.Laboratory of Exercise Physiology (EA4338)Saint-EtienneFrance
  3. 3.Salomon SAS, Amer Sports Footwear Laboratory of Biomechanics and Exercise Physiology, Les CroiseletsAnnecy Cedex 9France
  4. 4.Laboratory of Exercise Physiology (EA4338)University of SavoieLe Bourget-du-LacFrance
  5. 5.Laboratoire de Physiologie de l’Exercice (EA4338)Université de Saint-Etienne, Médecine du Sport-Myologie, CHU BellevueSaint-Etienne Cedex 2France

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