Studie made at the University of Kuopio

UNIVERSITY OF KUOPIO, Faculty of Medicine: Department of Biomedicine/Physiology Exercise Medicine

VÄYRYNEN, PETRI: Does the barefoot moving simulate light footwear improve the strength of
foot intrinsic-muscles and function of foot and lower extremity in closed kinetic chain?

Thesis 76 pages, 12 appendixes
Tutor: Heikki Pekkarinen, McD, adjunct professor
August 2007

The aim of this study was to evaluate effects of barefoot moving simulate light footwear on foot intrinsic-muscles and function of foot and lower extremity in closed kinetic chain. This footwear weight only about 150 gram/pair and are developed by Finnish company Feelmax Ltd. Several studies show, that barefoot moving is healthy and improve performance, because tactile sensation of the sole of the foot will be more sensible when barefoot. Sensibility activates the little foot intrinsicmuscles, which improve coordination of foot and that seems to lead to lesser injuries of foot and lower extremity. Rubbish and sharp things like broken glass make nowadays barefoot moving difficult and even dangerous. The sole of light footwear has been made of very thin, but strong special fabric, which allow the natural movements of foot, but at the same time it protect the sensible sole of foot against injuries.

The subjects were 17 voluntary and active people, whose mean age was 41 year. This study was random-compared study, which lasted four months, from July to November. The subjects were drawn in two groups; light footwear group and control group. There were three measurement times, each included three different measurements. Measurements were baseball pitch-test, static balance test and dynamic one leg bend test. Each test was performed two times separately with both legs. The mean values were calculated and then the groups were compared. Results were showing, that already after four months of using light footwear the function of foot and lower extremity in closed kinetic chain were improved. Dynamic one leg bend test, which simulate the stand phase of gait/running was approximately two times better by light footwear group than in control group. Also in baseball pitch-test and static balance test the results were better by light footwear group, thus differenties were not as significant as in dynamic one leg bend test. Thus the results were improved in all tests; there was no statistical significance between the groups. Further studies are still needed to evaluate functions of effects of light footwear in practice.