STEPS AHEAD: Advances in foot and ankle biomechanics
Foot and ankle experts from across the globe gathered in Sydney, Australia, in April for the third International Foot & Ankle Biomechanics (i-FAB) congress. LER’s exclusive coverage of this event starts with the ever-controversial topic of barefoot running and goes on to examine clinical and scientific progress related to plantar pressures, diabetes, pediatrics, unstable shoes, and osteoarthritis.
By Jordana Bieze Foster
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Cites lack of conclusive evidence – Joseph Hamill, PhD, is an avid runner who runs with a natural forefoot strike pattern. But Hamill, professor of kinesiology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, says he wouldn’t recommend that running technique for most people, despite recent claims that the forefoot strike pattern associated with barefoot running is associated with a lower risk of injury than rearfoot-strike running.
Lower extremity kinematics and training habits affect risk of overuse injury in runners, according to research from the University of Tubingen in Germany.
But ulcer severity may be decreased – In a Dutch randomized controlled trial of 171 high-risk diabetic patients, using plantar pressure measurements to confirm offloading below 200 kPa did not result in lower rates of ulcer recurrence over 18 months compared to standard custom shoes.
Scalpel debridement of plantar calluses in elderly patients does not reduce plantar pressures and is no more effective than sham treatment for relieving pain, according to an Australian study.
Studies assess school shoes, flip-flops – Researchers from the University of Sydney in Australia have identified gait changes associated with pediatric footwear that may help explain foot complaints that have been reported in children.
Researchers from the University of Sydney remain perplexed by the emergence of hand tremor as a predictor of calf cramp in children with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease but theorize that the relationship may involve fatigue.
Data confirm kinetic, EMG changes – The static curve of a rocker-bottom shoe does not correlate strongly with its rollover shape during gait, suggesting that other factors such as material stiffness may also contribute, according to research from the University of Salford in the UK.
Variable-stiffness shoes may have performance benefits for athletes in addition to addressing kinetic risk factors for knee osteoarthritis, according to research from the National University of Singapore.