Steps while walking: Cover less ground and CYA? New work suggests that it’s the stride not the specific shoe that matters when it comes to joint stress

Work from UVa suggests that (all else being equal) specific athletic shoe type likely matters less than stride length when calculating “joint moment”. If we translate to the high-risk foot, this is similar to previous works by Mike Muller and Dave Sinacore, who long ago suggested short stride length training for some amputees. Thanks to the folks at Lower Extremity Review for sharing this abstract of an abstract (originally published in Gait and Posture) in their latest issue. 

The increased joint moments associated with walking in standard athletic shoes are not affected by the amount of motion control provided by the shoe, according to research from the University of Virginia.
Investigators analyzed 68 healthy young adults as they walked on an instrumented treadmill barefoot and while wearing three types of athletic shoes: stability, motion control, and cushioned shoes.
They found that three different types of athletic footwear were all associated with significant increases in first peak knee varus moment, hip flexion moment, and hip extension moment compared to barefoot walking.  The magnitude of the change, however, was similar for all footwear conditions. The results were e-published on January 18 by Gait & Posture.
The authors suggested that the increase in joint moments may be related to the 6.5% increase in stride length observed while subjects were wearing shoes compared to the barefoot condition; the increased stride length was in turn associated with elevated ground reaction forces in all three axes. They noted, however, that the clinical relevance of the findings was unclear.

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