Discrete normal plantar stress variations with running speed

The distribution of force beneath the plantar foot surface during shod distance running, a kinetic descriptor of locomotion not previously reported, was recorded for ten rearfoot striking runners. Normal discrete stresses were assessed while the subjects ran on a treadmill at 2.98, 3.58, and 4.47 ms-1, with eight piezoceramic transducers secured inside the left shoe. Between 2.98 and 4.47 ms-1, mean peak stress increased significantly beneath the calcaneus (303.9-426.6 kPa), second metatarsal head (633.5-730.5 kPa), and hallux (575.1-712.4 kPa). Calcaneal stresses were notable for their rapid loading rate, averaging 10.1 kPa (ms)-1 at 3.58 ms-1. Highest stresses were measured beneath the second and third metatarsal heads and hallux. Peak first metatarsal head stress was less than peak second and third metatarsal head stresses in each of the 30 combinations of subjects and running speeds. However, lower stresses do not necessarily imply lower forces, as the force bearing surface area of each metatarsal head must be considered.

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