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Article Title

FOOTSTRIKE AND FLEXIBILITY AMONG COLLEGIATE CROSS-COUNTRY RUNNERS

Abstract

Evan Fike, Audrey Price, Melissa Powers & Paul House. University of Central Oklahoma; e-mail: efike@uco.edu

Introduction: The purpose of this study to was to examine difference in hip, knee, and ankle flexibility between cross-country athletes with forefoot and heel foot strike patterns. Methods: Participants for this study 9 cross-country runners, 6 male and 3 female, from a Division II private liberal arts university. Footstrike patterns were determined using in-shoe pressure analysis system in the insoles during a treadmill running protocol. The protocol consisted of four separate one-minute bouts of runs at four pre-determined speeds. Footstrike was determined based on which part the foot hit the ground first, the heel of the foot was a heel strike and if the balls of the feet hit first it was a fore footstrike. Flexibility was assessed using the sit-and-reach test for hamstring flexibility and goniometers measures of range of motion at the hip, knee, and ankle joints. Independent t-tests were conducted to determine differences in flexibility between those with forefoot strike and heel strike patterns. Results: Upon evaluation of the in-shoe pressure analysis system pressure data, two participants had forefoot strikes and seven had heel strikes. No significant differences in flexibility were observed between the two groups (p > .05). Conclusion: Our results indicate no difference in flexibility between forefoot strikers and heel striker among experience cross-country runners. This study is limited by the sample size and the number of participants with forefoot strike patterns. Further study of this topic is recommended with a larger sample size. It may also be beneficial to examine gender differences as our study revealed no females with a forefoot strike pattern.

Funding provided by the RCSA Grant from the University of Central Oklahoma

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