Do mechanical variability levels vary between barefoor and shod conditions for middle distance runners?
University of Wales
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Background: Being that variability is a contemporary issue, it has become an area of focus for many different researchers, each attempting to develop the current understanding of the concept. An additional current topic of interest is the mechanical differences between barefoot and shod running and their effects. Both of these issues are yet to be fully researched, however, through previous findings, each have independent associations with the reduction of overuse injury. Purpose: This study was conducted to correlate the two issues, and thus, examine whether mechanical variability levels vary between barefoot and shod conditions. Method: Six injury-free, sub-elite, male 800m athletes with mean ± standard deviation age, height, body mass and average weekly running distance values of 19.26 ± 0.98 years, 1.18 ± 0.05 m, 68.52 ± 3.90 kg, 24.17 ± 4.92 miles respectively, took part in the study. Sagittal plane kinematic measurements were obtained by use of CODA equipment, operating at 400 Hz, along with the simultaneous acquisition of kinetic information via two Kistler force plates, operating at 1000 Hz. Each participant wore their normal athletic footwear for the 'shod' condition trials. Ethical approval and informed consent were gained before the study commenced. From the gained information, both the coefficient of variation (%) and the root mean squared difference (%) were calculated to assess the 'inter-condition', 'intra-condition' and 'intra-subject' variability for various discrete and continuous variables. A normality test was conducted, following which, a paired T-test was employed to assess the significance of the inter-condition variability of the discrete variables. Results: The only difference between the two conditions which was found to be significant, was the coefficient of variation for the knee angle at maximum vertical force (p = 0.036). It was further discovered that the shod condition showed a tendency to have higher levels of variability; however, these differences were not found to be significant. Conclusions: From the findings, it was suggested that sagittal plane kinematic and kinetic mechanical variability were not contributing factors to the lower injury rates found in the barefoot condition within previous research, however, as injury rates for were not directly measured, this cannot be fully confirmed. Future research should aim to focus on coordination variability between the barefoot and shod conditions.
BA Enterprise Project
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