Influence of local fatigue of the plantar flexors and dorsiflexors on plantar pressure during running at three running speeds

Klaus Mattes, Walaa Eldin Ali Hazzaa, Stefanie Manzer, Nina Schaffert


Muscle fatigue can affect the absorption of impact forces during running which can increase the risk for running injuries. Conflicting results exist about the change of plantar pressure (PP) maxima. The study aimed to examine the influence of a standardised fatigue protocol on PP distribution of rearfoot strike runners considering possible test effects and leg asymmetries. 30 male runners volunteered in a laboratory test with repeated-measures after familiarization on the treadmill (11-15 km/h). Isokinetic fatigue protocol included ten sets of six concentric contractions (10 s set break, ω=60°/s). The first force maximum and the peak PP for three foot-regions were tested with an analysis of variance.

The plantar flexors (PF) decreased to 52%-62% and the dorsiflexors (DF) to 35-41% of the isometric maximum strength. Maximum of PP under the heel and forefoot decreased to 8.3% and 5.9%, respectively. As hypothesized, the fatigue protocol reduced the performance of DF more intensely which resulted in a muscle imbalance indicating an increased injury-risk. Because of their greater muscle mass and function, PF are more fatigue-resistant during running. The reductions in pressure values may indicate a possible protective strategy to counteract injuries during muscle fatigue. For injury prevention, a strength training of the foot muscles with focus on DF is recommended in addition to running.


Leg asymmetry, muscular imbalance, Isokinetic, Retest, Treadmill

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