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Gait Posture. 2012 Jun;36(2):312-5. doi: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2012.02.018. Epub 2012 Mar 17.

Effect of a rocker non-heeled shoe on EMG and ground reaction forces during gait without previous training.

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  • 1Physical Therapy, Speech and Occupational Therapy Dept, School of Medicine, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil. icnsacco@usp.br


Unstable shoes have been designed to promote "natural instability" and during walking they should simulate barefoot gait, enhancing muscle activity and, thus, attributing an advantage over regular tennis shoes. Recent studies showed that, after special training on the appropriate walking pattern, the use of the Masai Barefoot Technology (MBT) shoe increases muscle activation during walking. Our study presents a comparison of muscle activity as well as horizontal and vertical forces during gait with the MBT, a standard tennis shoe and barefoot walking of healthy individuals without previous training. These variables were compared in 25 female subjects and gait conditions were compared using ANOVA repeated measures (effect size:0.25). Walking with the MBT shoe in this non-instructed condition produced higher vertical forces (first vertical peak and weight acceptance rate) than walking with a standard shoe or walking barefoot, which suggests an increase in the loads received by the musculoskeletal system, especially at heel strike. Walking with the MBT shoe did not increase muscle activity when compared to walking with the standard shoe. The barefoot condition was more effective than the MBT shoe at enhancing muscle activation. Therefore, in healthy individuals, no advantage was found in using the MBT over a standard tennis shoe without a special training period. Further studies using the MBT without any instruction over a longer period are needed to evaluate if the higher loads observed in the present study would return to their baseline values after a period of adaptation, and if the muscle activity would increase over time.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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