Objectives: In this study, the effect of shoe degradation on running biomechanics by comparing the kinetics and kinematics of running in new and worn shoes was investigated. Three types of footwear using different cushioning technologies were compared.
Design: Longitudinal study.
Setting: Pre- and post-tests on overground running at 4.5 m s−1 on a 20-m laboratory runway; performance measured using a force platform and a motion capture system.
Participants: 24 runners (14 men and 10 women)
Interventions: 200 miles of road running in the same pair of shoes. Within-group factor: shoe condition (new/worn); between-group factor: footwear type (air/gel/spring).
Main outcome measurements: Stance time was calculated from force data. External loads were measured by maximum vertical force and loading rate. Kinematic changes were indicated by sagittal plane angles of the torso, hip, knee and ankle at critical events during the stance phase.
Results: Stance time increased (p = 0.035) in worn shoes. The torso displayed less maximum forward lean (p<0.001) and less forward lean at toe-off (p<0.001), while the ankle displayed reduced maximum dorsiflexion (p = 0.013) and increased plantar flexion at toe-off (p<0.001) in worn shoes. No changes in the hip and knee angles. No between-group difference among the three footwear groups or condition by type interaction was found in any measured variables.
Conclusions: As shoe cushioning capability decreases, runners modify their patterns to maintain constant external loads. The adaptation strategies to shoe degradation were unaffected by different cushioning technologies, suggesting runners should choose shoes for reasons other than cushioning technology.
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