Friday, April 19, 2013

Cushioned Running Shoes May Alter Adolescent Running Performance

I came across this link that outlined a poster presentation abstract that was presented recently at the 2013 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). With the new trend towards barefoot/ minimalist running shoes, the researchers were trying to evaluate whether foot strike would change in adolescent runners (since they do not have a permanently established gait) when they changed running shoes or running speed.

They studied a small group of 12 experienced adolescent runners (from local track teams) and found that different running shoes "dramatically" altered their biomechanics and may thus diminish performance.

The 12 adolescent competitive runners ran on a treadmill in large heel (or cushioned) trainers, track flats and barefoot at four different speeds. The researchers used a motion capture system to track stride length, heel height during the posterior swing phase and foot/ ground contact.

While wearing the cushioned heel trainers, the young runners landed on their heels  69.8% of the time at all speeds. With track flats, heel striking occurred less than 35% of the time while running barefoot, less than 30% of the time. The researchers found that shoes with cushioned heels tend to promote a heel strike running pattern whereas barefoot running and running in track flats resulted in a forefoot/ mid foot strike pattern.

The study seems to show that simply by changing the adolescent's footwear, their foot strike would change.

Well, something for all parents and coaches of young runners to think about. Please also have a look at this


*Picture of 2013 National Schools Track and Field Championships by richseow on

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