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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 133-140

Acute kinematic changes as a response to barefoot habituation training program: A randomized, parallel arm, trial

1 Department of Kinesiotherapy and Movement Sciences, Dr. D.Y. Patil College of Physiotherapy, Dr. D.Y. Patil Vidyapeeth, Pune, Maharashtra, India
2 Dean, Faculty of Medicine, Director, School of Physiotherapy, RK University, Rajkot, Gujarat, India
3 Principal, Dr. D.Y. Patil College of Physiotherapy, Dr. D.Y. Patil Vidyapeeth, Pune, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Zafar Azeem
Department of Kinesiotherapy and Movement Sciences, Dr. D.Y. Patil College of Physiotherapy, Dr. D.Y. Patil Vidyapeeth, Pune, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijptr.ijptr_182_22

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Context: Barefoot running has seen a lot of scientific interest in the running community over the last decade. However, there are conflicting claims to its efficacy in improving acute adaptations in the form of joint kinematics. Interventions to transition from shod running to barefoot running are limited in scope and implementation. Aim: The study investigated the kinematic differences between barefoot and habitually shod runners following 8 weeks of habituation training. It was hypothesized that the habituation phase with gradual increments in time spent barefoot would result in better kinematic changes in barefoot runners compared to habitual shod (in-shoe). Setting and Design: Randomized parallel arm trial conducted on professional runners. Methods and Materials: Thirty-two (n = 32) professional runners with a mean age of 21.5 ± 2.04 years with standing height measuring 1.69 ± 0.04 m and weighing 69 ± 3.55 kg were selected for the study. Participants were randomly allocated to experimental barefoot and control shod groups using computer-generated sequencing. The barefoot group received an transition plan in which the participants progressed from average time spent in walking and running barefoot. The control shod group was not required to do any changes to their traditional in-shoe training. Statistical analysis used: The primary outcome measures were joint kinematics at trunk, hip, knee and foot during the treadmill walk analyzed thorough independent T test and paired t test. The level of significance was set at P < 0.05. Results: The results indicated that the experimental barefoot group showed statistically significant (P < 0.01) changes to trunk flexion-extension during the preswing phase of running. Similarly, hip flexion-extension ranges were statistically significant (P < 0.01) in the habitual shod (in-shoe) group during the preswing to the terminal swing of running. Hip and knee flexion-extension ranges improved in the barefoot group with a statistical difference of P = 0.00 following 8 weeks of barefoot training. The mean difference for the change in hip and knee flexion ranges was of a higher magnitude for the barefoot group (26.88°) than the shod group (13.23°). Similarly, foot pronation-supination ranges improved for the barefoot group with P = 0.00. Conclusion: In conclusion, running barefoot was no different from shod running, although habitually in-shoe athletes, when transitioning to barefoot condition, were essentially better at adopting the natural running style for certain variables.

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