Presentation Abstract

Session: A-42-Injury Epidemiology
Wednesday, May 29, 2013, 7:30 AM -12:30 PM
Presentation: 291 - Injury Risk and Performance among Soldiers Wearing Minimalist Running Shoes Compared to Traditional Running Shoes
Location: Hall C, Poster Board: 143
Pres. Time: Wednesday, May 29, 2013, 11:00 AM -12:30 PM
Category: 501. Epidemiology and Biostatistics - epidemiology of physical activity and health
Keywords: Minimalist Shoes; Injury; Fitness
Author(s): Tyson Grier1, Michelle Canham-Chervak1, Timothy T. Bushman1, Morgan Anderson1, Will North2, Bruce H. Jones, FACSM1. 1United States Army Institute of Public Health, Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD. 2Henry Jackson Foundation, Fort Carson, CO.
Abstract: Minimalist running shoes (MRS) are lightweight, extremely flexible and have little to no cushioning. It has been thought that MRS will enhance running performance and decrease injury risk. PURPOSE: To compare physical characteristics, fitness performance, and injury risks associated with Soldiers wearing MRS and those wearing traditional running shoes (TRS). METHODS: Participants were men in a U.S. Army Brigade Combat Team (n=1332). Physical characteristics and Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) data were obtained by survey. Fitness performance testing was administered at the brigade and the types of footwear worn were identified by visual inspection. Injuries from the previous 24 months were obtained from the Defense Medical Surveillance System. Shoe types were categorized into 2 groups: TRS (cushioning, stability, motion control) and MRS. A T-test was used to determine mean differences between personal characteristics and fitness performance metrics by shoe type (MRS vs. TRS). Hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (95%CI) were calculated to determine injury risk. RESULTS: A majority of the Soldiers wore cushioning shoes (57%), followed by stability shoes (24%), MRS (17%), and motion control shoes (2%). Soldiers wearing MRS were younger than those wearing TRS (24.3±5.4 years vs. 25.3±4.8 years, p<0.01), performed more push-ups (69.1±13.5 vs. 64.2±13.4, p<0.01), more sit-ups (71.6±11 vs. 68.3±12.1, p<0.01), ran faster during the 2 mile run (14.5±1.5 vs. 14.8±1.6, p=0.01), excelled on the vertical jump test (23.5±4.2 vs.22.6±4.4, p<0.01), performed more pull-ups (7.7±5.2 vs.6.2±4.4, p<0.01), completed the 300 yard shuttle run faster (70.1±8.1 vs.71.8±9.1, p=0.03), and scored higher on the Functional Movement Screening test (17±2.2 vs. 16.3±2.5, p<0.01). When controlling for personal characteristics, physical fitness, and a history of prior injury, there was no difference in injury risk in the previous 12 months between Soldiers wearing MRS compared to Soldiers wearing TRS (HR (MRS vs.TRS) 95%CI): 1.03 (0.80-1.33, p=0.82). CONCLUSIONS: Soldiers who chose to wear MRS were younger and had higher physical performance scores compared to Soldiers wearing TRS. Controlling for these differences, use of MRS does not appear to be associated with higher or lower injury risk in this population.
Disclosures:  T. Grier: None.