Ankle work and dynamic joint stiffness in high- compared to low-arched athletes during a barefoot running task

High- (HA) and low-arched (LA) athletes have an exaggerated risk of injury. Ankle joint stiffness is a possible underlying mechanism for the increased rate of injury within these two functionally different groups. An alternative candidate mechanism of injury in HA and LA athletes pertains to the efficacy of the foot as a rigid lever during propulsion. The purpose of this study was to quantify the differences in ankle dynamic joint stiffness, and ankle braking work and ankle propulsive work during stance phase of running. HA athletes had significantly more ankle dynamic joint stiffness and significantly less ankle net and propulsive work than LA athletes.

These data exhibit that HA and LA athletes exhibit unique biomechanical patterns during running. These patterns may be associated with lower extremity injury.