This study evaluated and compared the effect of forefoot cushioning and a metatarsal pad on peak pressure in the forefoot of asymptomatic recreational runners.
This cross-sectional experimental trial was conducted from December 2013 to May 2015.
Every participant had to run on a treadmill in a regular neutral running shoe with three different types of foot orthoses (neutral, forefoot cushioning and metatarsal pad) in a randomised order.
Criteria for inclusion were as follows: recreational runners (at least two running sessions per week) aged between 18 and 65 years, and being accustomed to treadmill running.
The orthoses were selected according to the foot length of each participant.
The measurements took 2 min per condition during treadmill running; the first minute served for familiarisation with the orthosis and the second for data collection.
Plantar pressure data were collected for one minute sampled at 100 Hz and the mean peak pressure of ten steps were analysed.
After completion of each bout of running, participants had to fill out the Insole Comfort Index, asking for an individual comfort rating of foot orthosis condition.
The principal finding was that the forefoot cushioning orthosis showed a lower peak pressure in the forefoot in comparison to the metatarsal pad orthosis and the control condition.
The metatarsal pad used in the present study showed no significant pressure reduction in the forefoot in comparison to the two other conditions.
Participants to a small extent preferred the forefoot cushioning orthoses over the two other conditions.
It was concluded that in contrast to the foot orthoses with a metatarsal pad, the forefoot cushioning orthosis was able to achieve a significant reduction of peak pressure in the forefoot of recreational runners.
Consequently, prefabricated orthoses with forefoot cushioning reduce peak pressure in the forefoot more than prefabricated orthoses with an incorporated metatarsal pad.
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