ANALYSIS OF THE INFLUENCE OF DIFFERENT TREKKING BOOTS ON CHILDREN’S LOCOMOTOR ABILITY

  • Enrique Alcántara
  • Gabriel Brizuela
  • Elena Ferrús
  • Juan C. Gonzalez
  • Ana C. García
Keywords: motor skills, obstacle trial, movement analysis, children’s footwear, trekking boots, biomechanics

Abstract

The use of trekking boots for daily activities has greatly increased among children. This type of footwear can modify the locomotor ability of children due to alterations in ankle, leg and foot movements caused by upper height and sole stiffness, modifications of children’s perception of shoe size caused by a greater size, as well as energy cost due to boot weight, as observed in adults (Jones et al., 1986; Robinson et al., 1986), which can cause balance and performance problems. The influence of three different trekking boots on children’s locomotor ability and performance was studied in tests on children. Two boots differed only in the lacing system (one included an extra velcrum around the ankle) whilst the third was smaller, lighter and more flexible. The children performed performance tests running along an obstacle circuit (Brizuela, et al., 1997) using an electronic system for measuring time and ability tests on a new fixed-goal tasks (FGTT) circuit. This circuit included 13 different tasks on a restricted path which were evaluated on a three point scale from absence of error to grave error; global time and the number of errors were also measured. Results showed a high frequency of errors in many of the tasks in the FGTT circuit, mainly related to equilibrium, precision tasks and kicking obstacles. However, few differences were found within boots. The higher boots had a statistically significant (p=0.027) greater number of total errors, whilst 27.8% (Sommers D) of errors observed on the equilibrium bar were significantly attributed (0.041) to the higher boots without extra velcrum. These results related errors to lower rear foot stability and poor perception of shoe size. No statistically significant differences were found among boots in global time. No statistically significant differences within boots were found in time of circuit performance (if any, it should be lower than 2%). The main influence on children’s motor skills seemed to be the fact of wearing boots, with little influence exercised by boot design. Nevertheless, the differences observed were due to the influence on rear foot stability of boot design and size, and children’s perception of shoe size. REFERENCES: Brizuela, G., Llana, S., Ferrandis, R., García, A. (1997).The Influence of Basketball Shoes with Increased Ankle Support on Shock Attenuation and Performance in Running and Jumping. Journal of Sports Sciences 15, 505-515. Jones, B. H., Knapik, J. J., Daniels, W. L., Toner, M. M. (1986).The Energy Cost of Women Walking and Running in Shoes and Boots. Ergonomics 29, 439-443. Robinson, J. R., Frederick, E. C., Cooper, L. B. (1986). Systematic Ankle Stabilization and the Effect on Performance. Med. and Sci. in Sports and Exer. 18, 625-628.