February 2011

Increase in proximal joint moments does not depend on shoes’ stability

In the moment: Footwear

The increased joint moments associated with walking in standard athletic shoes are not affected by the amount of motion control provided by the shoe, according to research from the University of Virginia.

Investigators analyzed 68 healthy young adults as they walked on an instrumented treadmill barefoot and while wearing three types of athletic shoes: stability, motion control, and cushioned shoes.

They found that three different types of athletic footwear were all associated with significant increases in first peak knee varus moment, hip flexion moment, and hip extension moment compared to barefoot walking.  The magnitude of the change, however, was similar for all footwear conditions. The results were e-published on January 18 by Gait & Posture.

The authors suggested that the increase in joint moments may be related to the 6.5% increase in stride length observed while subjects were wearing shoes compared to the barefoot condition; the increased stride length was in turn associated with elevated ground reaction forces in all three axes. They noted, however, that the clinical relevance of the findings was unclear.

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