DYNAMIC MEASUREMENT OF FORCE WITHIN THE SHOE DURING CONDITIONS OF PERCEIVED EXERTION
Keywords: shoes, force, injuries
AbstractINTRODUCTION Athletics and recreation are becoming a very large component of modem day society. Now, more than ever, more people are becoming very active and involved in recreational pursuits that include aerobics and running/jogging. The resultant increase in activity has lead to a noted increase in injuries (Nigg, 1985; Mckenzie et al., 1985). James et al (cited in Cavanagh, 1990), in a study of 180 injured runners identified three categories of running injury problem areas. These areas being: a) training errors; b)anatomic factors (biomechanics); and c) shoes and surfaces. Two thirds of these injuries were accounted for by training errors (increased mileage or increased intensity). Training errors concerning sudden increases in mileage or intensity tend to subject the body to new or greater than expected physiological stressors. Voloshin and Wosk (1981), have investigated the relationship between heel strike shock wave transmission and joint degeneration in walking subjects. Taken one step further, the implications of damage to the muscle-skeletal system by running is noted by Cavanagh (1990). This combined with the Nigg et al. (1983) data that suggests a relationship between the hardness of the athletic (running) surface and the incidence of injury has serious implications for the recreational runner/athlete. Clarke et al. (1985) have highlighted the possible injurious force involved in tibial accelerations that are the result of the runner taking longer strides. Since most people retain a constant stride frequency, as velocity increases, the athlete tends to increase their stride length. The resultant increase in stride length increases impact forces at the joint. This combined with the increase of ground reaction forces with higher running speeds (Munro et al., 1987) identifies high impact forces as a major factor to be considered when investigating the causal nature of running injuries. Research into the type of shoe and ground reaction forces has been equivocal. Nigg and Bahlsen (1988) have stated that shoes with the hardest mid soles elicit the lowest maximal vertical forces. Conversely other research has indicated that shoe hardness is related to higher (vertical) loading rates. Listed above are a number of factors involved in the prediction of running injuries. Further research is needed to discover the causative factors involved in etiology of sport medicine running injuries. An analysis of running shoes, in particular the vertical ground reaction forces, may account for dynamic patterns of gait. Running at different levels of perceived exertion may elicit clues as to the biomechanics patterns that may be injurious to runners. For example, the gait of a runner at the beginning of the run may be markedly different from the gait at the end of the run. Variables such as intensity and distance will greatly affect the athlete's form as they become more tired. Thus, the number of running injuries (2/3 of Clarke's population) as a result of improper training may be the function of bad form (gait mechanics). An analysis under different levels of exertion will identify patterns of pressure with the foot that may have implications for the construction and design of athletic footwear as well as training methods for runners. This study was an attempt to understand the dynamic of in-shoe vertical ground reaction forces within the shoe under differing levels of perceived exertion. Research in the area of running shoe forces may lead to the development of a better product that will decrease the rate and type of running injuries.
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