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Open Access Highly Accessed Research

The effects of prolonged running on foot posture: a repeated measures study of half marathon runners using the foot posture index and navicular height

Emma Cowley* and Jonathan Marsden

Author Affiliations

School of Health Professions, Plymouth University, Faculty of Health, Education and Society, Peninsula Allied Health Centre, Derriford Road, Plymouth, PL6 8BH, UK

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Journal of Foot and Ankle Research 2013, 6:20  doi:10.1186/1757-1146-6-20

Published: 24 May 2013

Abstract

Background

Different foot postures are associated with alterations in foot function, kinetics and the subsequent occurrence of injury. Little is known about changes in foot posture following prolonged weightbearing exercise. This study aimed to identify changes in foot posture after running a half marathon.

Methods

Foot posture was measured using the Foot Posture Index (FPI-6) and navicular height in thirty volunteer participants before and after running a half marathon. FPI-6 scores were converted to Rasch logit values and means compared for these and navicular height using an ANOVA.

Results

There was a 5 mm drop in navicular height in both feet when measured after the half marathon (P < 0.05). The FPI-6 showed a side x time interaction with an increase in score indicating a more ‘pronated’ position in the left foot of + 2 [Rasch value + 1.7] but no change in the right foot (+ 0.4 [+ 0.76]) following the half marathon.

Conclusion

The apparent differences between the FPI-6 and navicular height on the right foot may be because the FPI-6 takes soft tissue contour changes into consideration whilst the navicular height focuses on skeletal changes. The changes in foot posture towards a more pronated position may have implications for foot function, and therefore risk of injury; shoe fit and comfort and also the effect of therapeutic orthoses worn during prolonged running.

Keywords:
Fatigue; Foot posture; Half marathon; Running; Pronation; Prolonged; Navicular height