Effect of Shoe Configuration, Running Speed, and Striking Style on the Maximum Acceleration of the Knee

Today, it is often assumed that running shoes are better for runners' knees and legs in general; however, some recent studies indicate that running barefoot with a front-foot first striking style might actually reduce the forces on the knees. Ten test subjects ran shod or unshod, jogging or sprinting, and with a front-foot first strike (FFFS) or a rear-foot first strike (RFFS) for a total of eight trials each with an accelerometer that was used to measure the maximum acceleration on one knee during each trial in order to determine the independent variable configurations that produce the highest maximum acceleration. A one-way analysis of variance test (ANOVA) that was run on the data returned a probability value of approximately 0% that all of the mean maximum accelerations of the knee for each trial configuration were equal. Using the results of the ANOVA test and collected data, the determination was made that unshod running, jogging, and running with a front-foot first strike provided for the least acceleration and, by extension, force on the knee. It was concluded that unshod running, jogging, and running with a front-foot first strike may be safest running configurations for the knees assuming that an increase in the maximum force on the knees when running leads to an increase in the rate of knee injury.

Research Done By:

Ryan Bisson
Fraser High School

Haley Hilliard
Sterling Heights High School