Date of Award
Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)
Cumulative Trauma Disorders -- prevention & control; Pronation -- physiology; Running -- injuries; Running -- physiology
Background and Purpose: Gaining knowledge of the change in navicular drop/over-pronation of the foot in response to barefoot running training may allow sports medicine professionals, coaches, athletes, and others in the healthcare field to decrease the amount of injuries that may be caused by these motions. Effects of a running retraining program with conversion from a rearfoot strike pattern (RFSP) to forefoot strike pattern (FFSP) to determine impact on navicular drop is lacking in literature. Due to the increased correlation of over-pronation and lower extremity injuries, the purpose of this study was to determine if barefoot running training, with a FFSP compared to shod running using a RFSP, would affect the amount of drop during walking and running activities.
Material/Methods: Navicular movement was analyzed between shod and barefoot running groups by utilizing the VICON motion analysis system and the static navicular drop test before and after the six-week running program. This study implemented a six-week gait retraining program to convert from a RFSP to FFSP in the barefoot running group when compared to the controlled shod group. The VICON was specifically used to evaluate the navicular drop of the foot during the stance phase of gait in walking and running. A decrease in navicular distance traveled from pre- to post-test, may suggest a decrease in dynamic foot over-pronation. This result could support the effects of barefoot running with a FFSP, as a possible method for reducing pain and injuries associated with running.
Results: Results showed no statistical significance in the Standard Navicular Drop Test. There were statistically significant differences using the VICON Motion Analysis for assessing dynamic navicular drop in Barefoot Walking (BW), Running Normal Barefoot (RNB), and Running on Toes Barefoot (RTB) on the right foot. Statistically significant differences were noted in the shod and barefoot training groups. Reduced post-training navicular movement was noted in the shod training group compared to increased navicular movement in the barefoot training group on the right foot.
Discussion: This current study determined that barefoot running did not improve the amount of navicular drop. Data showed that navicular drop significantly decreased on the right foot with shod training group in the conditions BW, RNB, and RTB indicating that shod training may be better for improving a pronated foot while performing these dynamic tasks. Limitations of this study included: a small sample size, narrow population, limited time spent barefoot running retraining, adverse training effects of the foot (blisters, metatarsal pain), and the VICON motion analysis process provided several inconsistencies during measurement of dynamic navicular drop during walking and running. Future research could address these limitations through creation of an ongoing study and/or open it to the public to improve subject population.
Fredericks, Corrie; Cygan, Alison; and Plemel, Robert, "The Effect of Barefoot Running on Navicular Drop: A Randomized Controlled Trial" (2018). Physical Therapy Scholarly Projects. 640.