Foot strike patterns differ between children and adolescents growing up barefoot vs. shod

Hollander, Karsten ; De Villiers, Johanna Elsabe ; Venter, Ranel ; Sehner, Susanne ; Wegscheider, Karl ; Braumann, Klaus-Michael ; Zech, Astrid (2017)

CITATION: Hollander, K., et al. 2017. Foot strike patterns differ between children and adolescents growing up barefoot vs. shod. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 39(02):97-103, doi:10.1055/s-0043-120344.

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Article

Effects of early and permanent footwear use are not well understood. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of habituation to footwear on foot strike patterns of children and adolescents. Healthy habitually barefoot and shod participants (aged 6–18 years) from South Africa (n=288) and Germany (n=390) performed multiple 20-m jogging and running trials with and without shoes. Each foot strike was captured using a high-speed camera to determine a rearfoot or non-rearfoot strike. The probability of a rearfoot strike in both cohorts and each age was analyzed by using a mixed-effects logistic regression adjusted for possible confounders. Habitually barefoot children showed a higher probability of using rearfoot strikes than habitually shod children (p<0.001). The probability was age-dependent and decreased in habitually barefoot children with age (ORbarefoot-jogging=0.82, 95% CI, 0.71 to 0.96, p=0.014; ORbarefoot-running=0.58, 95% CI, 0.50 to 0.67, p<0.001 and ORshod-running=0.68, 95% CI, 0.59 to 0.79, p<0.001). In habitually shod children, the probability increased significantly for shod jogging (OR=1.19, 95% CI, 1.05 to 1.35, p=0.006). To conclude, foot strike patterns of children are influenced by habituation to footwear. Younger habitually barefoot children show higher rates of rearfoot strikes for shod and barefoot running, and it converges in later adolescence.

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