R.M. Russell, S. Simmons

Corban University, Salem, OR

The study of overpronation in runners has remained a subject yet to be explored. With evidence to suggest the wide range of overuse injuries caused by overpronation, this subject needs to be researched. Barefoot running has appeared in the spotlight in the running community recently, but is still a misunderstood subject. There are many theories claiming the benefit of barefoot running, yet little research to support them. PURPOSE: To determine the effects of barefoot running on overpronation in intercollegiate cross-country runners using a customized questionnaire and the Foot Posture Index (FPI). METHODS: Measurement of the foot posture was taken using the FPI in a multi-plane, multi-angular fashion. The foot position was in quiet standing with equal weight distributed and toes pointing forward. Using six criteria the foot posture was measured in a variety of different categories and added to create the total score. The total score was sorted into one of the five categories: severely pronated, moderately pronated, neutral, moderately supinated and severely supinated. A total score of 6 and above indicated a moderate to severe pronated foot, and a score below 0 indicated a moderate to severe supinated foot. A total of 8 female cross-country runners (n=8) participated in the experiment. To reduce the risk of injury, the runners were first introduced to barefoot walking for two weeks, three days a week, with increasing time intervals. They then transitioned progressively to barefoot running three days a week for two weeks. The measurements were divided into two groups 1) The FPI total score pre-test, 2) and the FPI total score post-test. RESULTS: Four weeks of barefoot running training significantly decreased overpronation in runners measured by the Foot Posture Index: FPI pre-intervention total score 5.625 ± 2.875; FPI post-intervention total score 3.376 ± 2.264; t (7)=3.473, p=.010. CONCLUSION: The data showed significant decreases in the total score showing improvement in lessening overpronation. This suggests barefoot running can significantly improve overpronation in runners.

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