Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Thesis Format



Master of Science




Dickey, James P.


Kinematics of the foot during static and dynamic tasks are technically challenging to accurately measure, making it difficult to evaluate their contribution to running-related injuries. Motion capture can detect changes in running mechanics, such as with differing footwear. Habitual barefoot runners and/habitual minimalist shoe runners underwent a biomechanical evaluation of their foot movement during running using reflective markers and optical motion capture. A five-segment foot model was used to compare motions between the different parts of the foot while running barefoot and wearing Vibram Five Fingers™ (VFF) barefoot mimicking shoes. Supination/pronation in the forefoot was larger but not significant between habitual shod and habitual VFF runners. In contrast, the other foot motions (forefoot spreading/rising, hindfoot pronation/supination and hindfoot adduction/abduction) were not significantly different between the groups of runners. Therefore it could be possible that transitioning from a regular running shoe to a barefoot mimicking minimalist shoe would cause the foot to adopt a more supinated gait cycle.

Summary for Lay Audience

Movement of the foot due to it's complexity during still and moving tasks are challenging to measure. This makes it difficult to compare movements to running related injuries. This study took a look at Vibram Five Fingers and shod runners using a segmented foot model to see if differences were evident. The study used reflective markers and motion caption cameras to compare motion between the two groups of runners. There were no differences seen between the two groups of runners.

Included in

Biomechanics Commons