Foot segmental mobility during subphases of running: Comparative study between two striking patterns

Objectives: The literature lacks comparative data regarding foot segmental mobility in rearfoot (RFS) and midfoot striking (MFS) patterns. The aim of the study is to quantify the foot segmental mobility during distinct subphases of stance in presence of both striking patterns.

Methods: Twelve participants were instructed to run barefoot at a constant speed of 3.3m/s on a 10-m walkway, while adopting a RFS and a MFS pattern. Multi-segment foot mobility during the impact phase, the absorption phase and the generation phase was subsequently calculated and compared between both conditions.

Results: In the impact phase of the MFS trials, a higher sagittal plane range of motion was observed between shank and calcaneus (RFS=6.2°, MFS=14.5°, p<0.0001), between calcaneus and midfoot (RFS=1.9°, MFS=5.6°, p=0.002) as well as between the calcaneus and metatarsus (RFS=2.4°, MFS=4.9°, p=0.0015). In the absorption phase of the MFS trials, a higher frontal plane range of motion (RFS=1.3°, MFS=2.1°, p=0.004) and a lower sagittal plane range of motion (RFS=6.5°, MFS=4.3°, p=0.004) was observed between the calcaneus and metatarsus.

Conclusion: This study revealed that approximately 50% of the rearfoot range of motion has been observed in the midfoot when running with both striking patterns, although the highest ROM was observed in the rearfoot. This finding highlights that the rebounding effect of the human body results not only from absorption and generation within major joints of the lower limb but also from smaller joints in the foot.

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