November 2010

High-top styles, tied laces decrease Achilles tendon loading in cadavers

In the moment: Footwear

A high-top athletic shoe design and tightly tied laces can decrease peak Achilles tendon loading, primarily by limiting peak ankle dorsiflexion, according to a cadaver study from Virginia Tech University.

Researchers analyzed the effects of low-top vs high-top athletic shoes and tied vs untied laces in the left and right lower extremities of two human cadavers, using a custom testing apparatus designed to load the Achilles tendon by inertially dorsiflexing the ankle.

High-top shoes were associated with an average of 9.9% less peak Achilles tendon tension than low-top shoes. Peak dorsiflexion angle was also 7.2% lower in high-top shoes than low-top shoes, with laces tied. Both differences were statistically significant.

Compared to unlaced shoes with corresponding profiles, peak Achilles tension was 3.7% lower in laced low-top shoes and 12.8% lower in laced high-top shoes. In high-top shoes, tying laces resulted in an average reduction in peak ankle dorsiflexion of 4.7%. All three differences were statistically significant.

The findings were published in the September issue of the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine.

By Jordana Bieze Foster

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