Indexed on: 11 Jul '14Published on: 11 Jul '14Published in: Journal of applied biomechanics
Interest in barefoot running and research on barefoot running are growing. However a methodological issue surrounding investigations is how familiar the participants are with running barefoot. The aim of the study was to assess the amount of time required for habitually shod runners to become familiar with barefoot treadmill running. Twelve female recreational runners, who were experienced treadmill users, ran barefoot on a treadmill for three bouts, each bout consisting of 10 minutes at a self-selected speed with 5 minute rest periods. Sagittal plane kinematics of the hip, knee, ankle, and foot during stance were recorded during the first and last minute of each 10-minute bout. Strong reliability (ICC > .8) was shown in most variables after 20 minutes of running. In addition, there was a general trend for the smallest standard error of mean to occur during the same period. Furthermore, there were no significant differences in any of the biomechanical variables after 20 minutes of running. Together, this suggests that familiarization was achieved between 11 and 20 minutes of running barefoot on a treadmill. Familiarization was characterized by less plantar flexion and greater knee flexion at touchdown. These results indicate that adequate familiarization should be given in future studies before gait assessment of barefoot treadmill running.