A Pressure Plate-Based Method for the Automatic Assessment of Foot Strike Patterns During Running
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The foot strike pattern (FSP, description of how the foot touches the ground at impact) is recognized to be a predictor of both performance and injury risk. The objective of the current investigation was to validate an original foot strike pattern assessment technique based on the numerical analysis of foot pressure distribution. We analyzed the strike patterns during running of 145 healthy men and women (85 male, 60 female). The participants ran on a treadmill with integrated pressure plate at three different speeds: preferred (shod and barefoot 2.8 ± 0.4 m/s), faster (shod 3.5 ± 0.6 m/s) and slower (shod 2.3 ± 0.3 m/s). A custom-designed algorithm allowed the automatic footprint recognition and FSP evaluation. Incomplete footprints were simultaneously identified and corrected from the software itself. The widely used technique of analyzing high-speed video recordings was checked for its reliability and has been used to validate the numerical technique. The automatic numerical approach showed a good conformity with the reference video-based technique (ICC = 0.93, p < 0.01). The great improvement in data throughput and the increased completeness of results allow the use of this software as a powerful feedback tool in a simple experimental setup.
KeywordsLocomotion Gait analysis Foot Forefoot Humans
We are grateful to Arno Schroll for the precious suggestions in matter of statistics and to Sebastian Bohm, PhD and Falk Mersmann for the great help in collecting the participants.
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