June 2012

Injuries prevent runners from adapting to acute changes in midsole hardness

In the moment: Footwear

By Jordana Bieze Foster

Injured runners do not make sagittal plane kinematic adaptations to changes in midsole hardness the way that healthy runners do, according to research from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse (UW-L) presented in late May at the ACSM meeting.

In 20 healthy runners and 20 runners with a history of injury that interrupted training for more than one week, researchers analyzed vertical ground reaction force loading rates and kinematics during running under three midsole hardness conditions (durometers of 45, 57, and 70).

Loading rates were highest for the hard condition and lowest for the soft condition in both groups, but knee flexion angle varied across conditions in the uninjured group only. This suggests that injury impairs a runner’s ability to make kinematic adjustments to changes in midsole hardness, said Stacy A. Meardon, PT, PhD, ATC, assistant professor of physical therapy at UW-L.

“There is going to be a need to make sure of a good match between shoe and runner because the injured runner will not be able to adapt,” Meardon said.

Source: Meardon SA, Deurst A, Derrick TR. Running injury and adaptation to footwear. Presented at 59th annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine, San Francisco, May 2012.

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