Joint and plantar loading in table tennis topspin forehand with different footwork

Table tennis players often execute one-step, side-step or cross-step to move to an appropriate position for topspin forehand. However, to our knowledge, no studies have investigated the footwork effects on lower-limb kinetics and kinematics, which are related to playing performance and injury prevention. This study examined the ground reaction forces, joint kinetics and in-shoe plantar pressure distribution during topspin forehand with three typical footwork patterns. Fifteen male table tennis players performed cross-court topspin forehands in one-step, side-step and cross-step. Force plate, motion capturing, and instrumented insole systems were used to measure ground reaction force, joint moments and plantar pressure variables. One-way ANONA with repeated measures was performed to determine any significant differences between footwork. Results indicated that participants exhibited significantly higher ground reaction force loadings, knee flexion angle, knee moment, ankle inversion and moment during side-step and cross-step compared with one-step footwork condition (p < .01). Plantar pressure data indicated that the significantly higher peak pressure were observed in the total foot, toe, 1st, 2nd and 5th metatarsal regions during side-step and cross-step (p < .01). Additionally, cross-step had induced higher peak pressure in medial midfoot and heel regions than one-step and higher peak pressure in total and 1st metatarsal regions than side-step (p < .01). These results suggest that foot orthotic designs should consider the stronger emphasis on those high-pressured areas and that the differential joint and plantar loadings in side-step and cross-step may provide useful insights to injury mechanism and training protocol development.

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