September 2010

Even motion control footwear allows midfoot movement while running

In the moment: Footwear

Practitioners who recommend so-called motion control running shoes may want to think of “control” as a relative term, in light of research demonstrating significant sagittal plane movement of the foot within motion control shoes.

Investigators from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, AZ, analyzed 10 female young adult runners. Subjects walked and ran on a 42-meter walkway while wearing a motion control running shoe, and also walked while wearing a flat-soled, unstructured karate shoe.

Plantar surface contact area for the medial and lateral midfoot, which reflects sagittal plane motion of the longitudinal arch, was significantly greater while walking in the motion control shoe than in the karate shoe. In the running shoe, medial and lateral midfoot contact area while running was significantly greater than while walking.

Despite the suggestion of false advertising, this in-shoe midfoot motion isn’t necessarily a bad thing, said Thomas G. McPoil, PT, PhD, who presented the findings in August at the emed Scientific Meeting.

“If a shoe really did totally control motion, it would probably cause pain,” McPoil said.

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