• R. Squadrone
  • C. Gallozzi
  • M. Evangelista
  • A. Dal Monte


Fencing is a sport involving sharp backward and forward movements interspersed with several slower gliding steps in which lower limb agility is crucial to good movements and correct body positioning. Thus, while the upper extremity uses the weapon, the legs and feet work to get the fencer in position to it. From a biomechanical point of view, particularly stressed are the feet. Incidence of foot injury in fencing is high, and there have been many cases reported of metatarsal stress fractures, capsulitis, plantar fasciitis, and interdigital neuromas. Although it would be useful to accurately evaluate the high pressure points so that overall lower limb salvage may be improved, to our knowledge, no information about the force and pressure distribution beneath the foot of fencers performing technical actions is available. The purpose of this study was, therefore, to evaluate dynamic in-shoe plantar pressure during fencing lunge. Six right-handed foilists of national level (age: 24k5.5) were the subjects of this study. Each athlete was asked to perform the following technical actions: simple lunge; step forward-lunge; step backward-lunge; jump forward-lunge. Data for at least six trials per condition was collected. The Fscan in-shoe pressure measurement system was used to measure plantar pressure during all trials. The system uses an ultra-thin flexible and trimmable sensor with 960sensing locations distributed evenly across the entire plantar surface. These footsensors can be customized to the individual needs and sizing of each subject. The parameters examined included the centre of pressure path, time-pressure relationships, and the force and pressure in three regions of the foot (rear, mid, and forepart).Despite the apparent intersubject similarities in performing the actions, clear differences were observed in most of the examined parameters. In contrast to the above finding, the variability within-subject was low indicating a high consistency in movement execution, As expected, in all the technical actions, an asymmetrical load was placed on the lower extremities, with the right foot of the athletes particularly subjected to stress in the forward actions. The results showed that the majority of the right foot pressure was localized in the forefoot and especially over the head of the first and second metatarsal and hallux. High pressure levels, as those found here, applied too often and over a long periods of time can cause structural damage to the foot. Shoe and plantar orthosis designers should attempt to reduce such risks designing sager footwear and proper shoe inserts.
Coaching and Sports Activities