By Jordana Bieze Foster
Running in minimalist footwear and running with a shorter stride length are both associated with reduced knee loads, but the two approaches differ in their effects on loading at the ankle, according to research from the University of Calgary in Canada.
In 14 healthy young adult men, investigators assessed the effect on joint loading of using minimalist versus control footwear or using a stride 10% shorter than the runner’s preferred stride length.
Mean knee loads during running were 7.4% lower for minimalist shoes than for control shoes, and 15.7% lower for the shortened stride length than the preferred stride length. Ankle loads, however, were slightly higher for minimalist shoes than for control shoes but slightly lower for a shortened stride length than the preferred stride length. Load at the metatarsophalangeal joint was 10.2% higher for minimalist shoes than for control shoes. Combining minimalist shoes with a shortened stride length was associated with a 22% mean reduction in knee joint load.
The findings were epublished in March by the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport.
Firminger CR, Edwards WB. The influence of minimalist footwear and stride length reduction on lower-extremity running mechanics and cumulative loading. J Sci Med Sport 2016 Mar 17. [Epub ahead of print]