Track distance runners exhibit bilateral differences in the plantar fascia stiffness

Hiroto Shiotani, Ryo Yamashita, Tomohiro Mizokuchi, Natsuki Sado, Munekazu Naito, Yasuo Kawakami

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Human steady-state locomotion modes are symmetrical, leading to symmetric mechanical function of human feet in general; however, track distance running in a counterclockwise direction exposes the runner’s feet to asymmetrical stress. This may induce asymmetrical adaptation in the runners’ foot arch functions, but this has not been experimentally tested. Here, we show that the plantar fascia (PF), a primary structure of the foot arch elasticity, is stiffer for the left than the right foot as a characteristic of runners, via a cross-sectional study on 10 track distance runners and 10 untrained individuals. Shear wave velocity (index of tissue stiffness: SWV) and thickness of PF and foot dimensions were compared between sides and groups. Runners showed higher PF SWV in their left (9.4 ± 1.0 m/s) than right (8.9 ± 0.9 m/s) feet, whereas untrained individuals showed no bilateral differences (8.5 ± 1.5 m/s and 8.6 ± 1.7 m/s, respectively). Additionally, runners showed higher left to right (L/R) ratio of PF SWV than untrained men (105.1% and 97.7%, respectively). PF thickness and foot dimensions were not significantly different between sides or groups. These results demonstrate stiffer PF in the left feet of runners, which may reflect adaptation to their running-specific training that involves asymmetrical mechanical loading.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9260
JournalScientific reports
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Dec

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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