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  1. Daniel Theisen1,
  2. Paul Gette1,
  3. Nicolas Chambon2,
  4. Axel Urhausen1,3,4,
  5. Laurent Malisoux1
  1. 1Sports Medicine Research Laboratory, Luxembourg Institute of Health, Luxembourg, Luxembourg
  2. 2Decathlon, Movement Sciences Laboratory, Villeneuve d'Ascq, France
  3. 3Sports Clinique, Centre Hospitalier de Luxembourg, Luxembourg, Luxembourg
  4. 4International University of Health, Exercise and Sports, Luxembourg, Luxembourg


    Background So far, only few biomechanical studies have specifically addressed the acute effect of the heel-to-toe drop in running shoes, but longitudinal studies are lacking.

    Objective Our aim was to investigate if the drop of conventional cushioned shoes induces specific long-term adaptations in running technique.

    Design Randomised controlled trial.

    Setting Leisure-time distance runners were tested on a treadmill at their preferred running speed before and after a 6-month period.

    Participants Study participants (n=59), unexperienced with minimalist shoes, were recruited via advertisements in local newspapers.

    Intervention The participants received a pair of running shoes with a drop of 10 mm (D10, n=20), 6 mm (D6, n=17) or 0 mm (D0, n=22). Apart from the shoe drop, the 3 versions were strictly identical.

    Main Outcome Measurements Kinematic and spatio-temporal variables of running trials were obtained using synchronized systems for three-dimensional motion analysis (200 Hz) and step cycle event detection. Joint angles were investigated at initial contact and mid-stance phase of 151±22 analysed steps per record. Two-way analysis of variance for repeated measures with the post hoc Bonferroni correction was used and accepted significance was set at p<0.05.

    Results The participants performed on average a total of 332±178 km over 163±16 days between pre- and post-tests. No interaction between shoe drop and time was found for any of the spatio-temporal variables, or for any angles at initial contact. At mid-stance phase, a significant shoe drop by time interaction was found for knee abduction angle (p=0.032). For D0 group, knee abduction decreased (−0.3±3.1 vs. -1.3±2.6°) in contrast to D6 (0.3±2.7 vs. 1.3±3.1°) and D10 (−0.2±3.2 vs. 0.5±3.1°) groups. However, none of the pairwise comparisons was significant in the post-hoc analysis.

    Conclusions Shoe drop of standard cushioned shoes does not seem to influence long term adaptation in running biomechanics.

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