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The hypothesis of this study was that shoe hardness and footwear affect ankle coordinative strategies during the running stance period. Subjects ran at a self-selected pace under three conditions—barefoot, wearing a hard shoe, and wearing a soft shoe—while sagittal and frontal view kinematic data were collected. Dynamic systems theory tools were used to explore ankle coordinative strategies under the three conditions. No significant differences in coordination were found between the two shoe conditions. However, significant differences in ankle coordinative strategies existed between the shoe conditions and the barefoot condition. Changes in coordinative strategies may be related to different mechanisms to attenuate impact forces while running barefoot. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 94(1): 53-58, 2004)
Corresponding author: Max J. Kurz, MS, HPER Biomechanics Laboratory, University of Nebraska at Omaha, Omaha, NE 68182-0216.