A recent study examining force loads on the plantar fascia while running on different surfaces could provide a better understanding for preventing and treating potential injuries in the foot.
The study, which was published in the journal Research in Sports Medicine, was conducted by researchers from the Chinese University of Hong Kong Department of Sports Science. The researchers wanted to compare plantar loads while running various overground surfaces. The surfaces included concrete, synthetic rubber, such as the kind normally found on a track, and natural grass.
The study included 15 runners with a heel-to-toe running gait. The runners wore sensors in the insoles of their shoes which collected and analyzed plantar load data while they ran on each of the running surfaces at a pace of 3.8 meters per second, or approximately a 7:00 minute per mile pace.
The researchers found that running on natural grass showed a lower magnitude of maximum plantar pressure at the total foot, lateral midfoot, central forefoot and lateral forefoot when compared with running on concrete and synthetic rubber. They also found that running on natural grass showed a longer relative contact time compared with running on a concrete surface at the central forefoot and lateral forefoot.
These results could have future implications in understanding and preventing potential injuries, as well as improving current treatments for injuries, such as plantar fasciitis and other related afflictions.
For more information:
Wang L, Hong Y, Li JX, Zhou JH. Comparison of plantar loads during running on different overground surfaces. Res Sports Med. 2012 Apr;20(2): 75-85.