Comparison of Barefoot vs. Shod Gait on Spinal Dynamics Using DIERS Formetric 4D and DIERS Pedoscan Systems

DOI: 10.4236/ojtr.2015.33010   PDF   HTML   XML   3,728 Downloads   4,808 Views   Citations


Barefoot running is increasing in popularity within the running community, yet the biomechanical differences compared to traditional shod running are not well understood. This study investigates the changes in spinal dynamics during the gait cycle of runners wearing traditional running shoes (shod) compared to those wearing no shoes (barefoot). Pedal force distribution, kyphotic angle, lordotic angle, and trunk inclination were measured during shod and barefoot gait at three different speeds on a treadmill. Subjects were examined using the DIERS Formetric 4D system and DIERS Pedoscan system. While running barefoot, pedal force distribution analysis showed that 21.0% more force load goes through the forefoot vs. a 10.2% increase in forefoot force with shod (p = 0.0006). At 8.0 km·h-1 the average kyphotic angle was 1.6 degrees greater under barefoot conditions vs. shod conditions (p = 0.008). At 8.0 km·h-1 the average lordotic angle was 0.8 degrees greater under barefoot conditions vs. shod conditions (p = 0.05). Trunk inclination was 0.6 degrees and 0.8 degrees greater under barefoot conditions compared to shod conditions at natural speeds (p = 0.005) and 8.0 km·h-1 (p = 0.015), respectively. Barefoot runners show an increased force load in the forefoot, eliciting a forefoot strike pattern while running barefoot compared to shod running, and it was also found that barefoot runners have reduced trunk inclination. These dynamic changes allow for a more spring-like effect for barefoot runners creating a less transient and slower rise in force. In contrast, a heel strike pattern yields a rapid and high impact collision between heel and ground. As a result, barefoot running translates into less stress on the joints of the lower extremity and back and therefore less risk of injury.

Share and Cite:

Draus, C. , Moravec, D. , Kopiec, A. and Knott, P. (2015) Comparison of Barefoot vs. Shod Gait on Spinal Dynamics Using DIERS Formetric 4D and DIERS Pedoscan Systems. Open Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation, 3, 70-76. doi: 10.4236/ojtr.2015.33010.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] A Brief History of Barefoot Running (2011).
[2] Lieberman, D.E., Venkadesan, M., Werbel, W.A., Daoud, A.I., D’Andrea, S., Davis, I.S., Mang’eni, R.O. and Pitsiladis, Y. (2010) Foot Strike Patters and Collision Forces in Habitually Barefoot versus Shod Runners. Nature, 463, 531-535.
[3] Biomechanics of Foot Strikes & Applications to Running Barefoot or in Minimal Footwear (2010).
[4] American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (2008) Running and Jogging Injuries.
[5] Frerich, J.M., Hertzler, K., Knott, P. and Mardjetko, S. (2012) Comparison of Radiographic and Surface Topography Measurements in Adolescents with Idiopathic Scoliosis. The Open Orthopaedics Journal, 6, 261-265.
[6] DIERS International, GmbH (2014) DICAM Version 2.4.5. EU Patent, DIERS International GmbH, Schlangenbad, Germany.
[7] Maffetone, P. (2012) Walking vs. Running: Why These Gaits Are Not the Same.
[8] Delgado, T.L., Kubera-Shelton, E., Robb, R.R., Hickman, R., Wallmann, H.W. and Dufek, J.S. (2013) Effects of Foot Strike on Low Back Posture, Shock Attenuation, and Comfort in Running. Medical Science Sports Exercise, 45, 490-496.

comments powered by Disqus

Copyright © 2020 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.