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Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1995 Jan;27(1):92-7.

Energy aspects for elastic and viscous shoe soles and playing surfaces.

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Human Performance Laboratory, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.


The purpose of this project was to determine the effect of changes in stiffness and viscosity of the foot ground interface on the work performed during locomotion. The estimation of the work during locomotion was derived from a mathematical two segment model, representing the foot and the rest of the body. The typical passive elements between the foot and the rest of the body were replaced by a strategic formulation of how a resultant force, F, representing the net effect of all the muscles between the foot and the rest of the body, has to evolve over time in a running situation. The calculations were performed under the assumption that the force F is selected so that the mechanical work performed by F is minimal. The estimations of the work required during a step cycle is generally higher for softer than for harder springs and for low damping compared with high damping. The model calculations demonstrate that specific combinations of material properties may be advantageous or disadvantageous from an energy point of view.

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