Altered forefoot function following a military training activity
Rice, H; Fallowfield, J; Allsopp, A; et al.Dixon, S
Date: 10 September 2019
Gait and Posture
Background Injury rates are high in populations that regularly undertake weight-bearing physical activity, particularly military populations. Military training activities, that often include load carriage, have been associated with lower limb injury occurrence, specifically stress fractures. Research question Recent work identified ...
Background Injury rates are high in populations that regularly undertake weight-bearing physical activity, particularly military populations. Military training activities, that often include load carriage, have been associated with lower limb injury occurrence, specifically stress fractures. Research question Recent work identified plantar loading variables as risk factors for lower limb stress fractures in Royal Marines recruits that were assessed during barefoot running. This study aimed to quantify how those plantar loading variables changed in Royal Marines recruits following a prolonged military load carriage activity, to further understand potential mechanisms for lower limb stress fractures. Methods Bilateral, synchronised plantar pressure and lower limb kinematic data were recorded during barefoot running at 3.6 m s-1 (±5%) pre- and post- a 12.8-km training activity (∼150 min). The training activity was completed with an average speed typical of walking (1.4 m.s-1), and 35.5 kg of additional load was carried throughout. Data were collected from 32 male Royal Marines recruits who completed the training activity in week-21 of the 32-week training programme. Plantar pressure variables and ankle dorsiflexion were compared between pre- and post-activity. Results Post-activity there was reduced loading under the forefoot and increased loading under the rearfoot and midfoot. There was no change in dorsiflexion touchdown angle, but an increase in peak dorsiflexion and range of motion post-activity. Significance The increased rearfoot loading, reduced forefoot loading and increased ankle dorsiflexion following a prolonged military load carriage activity suggest a reduced transfer of loading from the rearfoot to the forefoot during stance, which may have implications for the development of stress fractures, particularly of the metatarsals.
Sport and Health Sciences
College of Life and Environmental Sciences
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