Soccer boots elevate plantar pressures in elite male soccer professionals

Objective: The present study measured the difference in peak plantar pressure between running shoes and soccer shoes in male soccer professionals [mean (SD): age, 23 (4) years; height, 184 (7) cm; weight, 81 (6) kg].

Design: Case series.

Setting: Institutional study.

Participants: A total of 17 elite male soccer professionals [mean (SD): age, 23 (4) years; height, 184 (7) cm; weight 81 (6) kg].

Interventions: Fifteen right and left steps with sensor-loaded insoles (99 sensors, 50 Hz) while running (3.3 m/s) in running shoes and then chosen soccer shoes (12-stud profile). The players were equipped with running shoes from the supplier without any medical supervision.

Main outcome measures: Changes of peak plantar pressure for 9 defined foot portions between soccer boots and running shoes.

Results: A statistically significant increase of peak plantar pressure was found for the lateral midfoot (P < 0.001 for preferred and nonpreferred foot), the first metatarsal head (preferred foot: P < 0.001, nonpreferred foot: P = 0.002), the metatarsal heads 4/5 (preferred foot: P = 0.001, nonpreferred foot: P = 0.002), and the big toe (preferred foot: P = 0.001, nonpreferred foot: P < 0.001), but not for the lateral and medial hindfoot, the medial midfoot, and lesser toes.

Conclusions: In running, soccer boots generate excessive foot loadings predominantly under the lateral midfoot, as compared with running shoes. Players should be trained with a thoughtfully designed workout regimen that allows performing as many straight running exercises as possible in running shoes instead of soccer boots. This may help to prevent fifth metatarsal stress fractures in elite male soccer players.

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