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J Physiol Anthropol. 2007 Sep;26(5):521-6.

Effects of worn-out soles on lower limb stability, shock absorption and energy cost during prolonged walking.

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Department of Ergonomics, Faculty of Design, Kyushu University, Japan.


This study investigated the effects of worn-out shoes on lower leg stability, shock absorption and energy cost during prolonged walking. Seven male subjects (23.4 +/- 0.5 yr) walked at 4.8 km/h for 60 minutes wearing three different pairs of shoes: two of these pairs had severely and moderately worn soles (EASC: Excessive Attrite Shoe Condition and MASC: Moderate Attrite Shoe Condition, respectively) and the other pair had no wear (NASC: No Attrite Shoe Condition). Impact acceleration at the subtalar at heel strike, rearfoot angles (the subtalar joint and the lower leg) during stance phase, and oxygen uptake (VO2) were measured throughout the 60-minute walk. At the 10th minute of walking, worn-out shoes increased the supination of the subtalar joint and extortion of the lower leg. In addition, VO2 was significant larger in EASC (808.3 ml x min(-1)) than in NASC (749.5 ml x min(-1)). During the 60-minute walk, however, there were no time effects of shoe condition on the rearfoot angles and on VO2. In contrast, impact acceleration at the subtalar joint in EASC remained almost constant until the 30th minute of walking, and then began to elevate. In conclusion, worn-out shoes increased the energy cost and reduced lower leg stability during walking, although these changes were not influenced by walking duration within 60 minutes. However, prolonged walking showed the potential negative effect of worn-out shoe on shock absorption.

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