Barefoot running and hip kinematics: Good news for the knee?

C. Mccarthy, N. Fleming, B. Donne, Brian Blanksby

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    8 Citations (Scopus)


    © 2014 by the American College of Sports Medicine. Purpose: Patellofemoral pain and iliotibial band syndromes are common running injuries. Excessive hip adduction (HADD), hip internal rotation (HIR), and contralateral pelvic drop (CLPD) during running have been suggested as causes of injury in female runners. This study compared these kinematic variables during barefoot and shod running. Methods: Three-dimensional gait analyses of 23 habitually shod, uninjured female recreational athletes running at 3.33 mIsj1 while shod and barefoot were studied. Spatiotemporal and kinematic data at initial contact (IC), 10% of stance (corresponding to the vertical impact peak), and peak angles were collected from each participant for HADD, HIR, and CLPD, and differences were compared across footwear conditions. Results: Step rates when running barefoot were 178 T 13 versus 172 T 11 steps per minute when shod (P G 0.001). Foot-strike patterns changed from a group mean heel-toe latency indicating a rear-foot strike (20.8 ms) when shod, to one indicating a forefoot strike (j1.1 ms) when barefoot (P G 0.001). HADD was lower at IC and at 10% of stance when running barefoot (2.3 ° ± 3.6° vs 3.9° ± 4.0° , P G 0.001 and 2.8° ± 3.5° vs 3.8-T 3.7° , P G 0.01), as was HIR (7.9° ± 6.1° vs 10.8° ± 6.1° , P G 0.001 and 4.1° ± 6.3° vs 7.0° ± 5.8°, P G 0.01) and CLPD (0.4° ± 2.4° vs j0.4° ± 2.3° , P G 0.01 and 0.8° ± 2.7° vs 0.3° ± 2.5°, P G 0.05). There were no significant differences detected in peak data for hip kinematics. Conclusions: Barefoot running resulted in lower HADD, HIR, and CLPD when compared to being shod at both IC and 10% of stance, where the body's kinetic energy is absorbed by the lower limb. Because excessive HADD, HIR, and CLPD have been associated with knee injuries in female runners, barefoot running could have potential for injury prevention or treatment in this cohort.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1009-1016
    JournalMedicine and Science in Sports and Exercise
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


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