Effects of arch height of the foot on angular motion of the lower extremities in running

  • Nigg B
  • Cole G
  • Nachbauer W
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Abstract

It has been suggested that a relationship exists between the height of the medial longitudinal arch of the foot and athletic injuries to the lower extremities. However, the functional significance of arch height in relation to injury is not well understood. The purpose of this study was to determine the influence of arch height on kinematic variables of the lower extremities that have been associated with the incidence of injury in running in an attempt to gain some insight into a functional relationship between arch height and injury. The three-dimensional kinematics of the lower extremities were measured during running for 30 subjects using high-speed video cameras. A joint coordinate system was used to calculate the three-dimensional orientation of the ankle joint complex for a single stance phase. Simple, linear regression analyses showed that arch height does not influence either maximal eversion movement or maximal internal leg rotation during running stance. However, assuming that knee pain in running can result from the transfer of foot eversion to internal rotation of the tibia, a functional relationship between arch height and injury may exist in that the transfer of foot eversion to internal leg rotation was found to increase significantly with increasing arch height. A substantial (27%), yet incomplete, amount of the variation in the transfer of movement between subjects was explained by arch height, indicating that there must be factors other than arch height that influence the kinematic coupling at the ankle joint complex. Additionally, the transfer of movement is only one factor of many associated with the etiology of knee pain in running. Therefore, it is suggested that a running-injury-related foot typology based on arch height is not possible at this time. © 1993.

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Authors

  • Benno M. Nigg

  • Gerald K. Cole

  • Werner Nachbauer

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