Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)


Physical Therapy

Advisor 1

Merrill Landers

First Committee Member

Merrill Landers

Second Committee Member

Robbin Hickman

Number of Pages



Purpose: Barefoot running (BF) is popular in the running community. Biomechanical changes occur with BF, especially when initial contact changes from rearfoot strike (RFS) to forefoot strike (FFS). In addition, changes in lumbar spine range of motion (ROM), particularly involving lumbar lordosis, have been associated with increased low back pain (LBP). However it is not known how changing from RFS to FFS affects lumbar lordosis or LBP. Thus, the purpose of this study was to determine if a change from RFS to FFS would change lumbar lordosis, and/or decrease shock attenuation, and/or change comfort levels in healthy recreational/experienced runners.

Methods: Forty-three subjects performed a warm up on the treadmill where a self-selected footstrike pattern was determined. Instructions on running RFS/FFS were taught and two conditions were examined. Each condition consisted of 90 s of BF with RFS or FFS; order randomly assigned. A comfort questionnaire was completed after both conditions. Fifteen consecutive strides from each condition were extracted for analyses.

Results: Statistically significant differences between FFS and RFS shock attenuation (p


Change in footstrike from RFS to FFS decreased overall ROM in the lumbar spine but did not make a difference in flexion or extension in which the lumbar spine is positioned. Shock attenuation was greater in RFS. RFS was perceived a more comfortable running pattern.


Backache; Biomechanics; Gait in humans; Joints — Range of motion; Running


Biomechanics | Kinesiotherapy | Physical Therapy | Rehabilitation and Therapy

File Format


File Size

831 Kb

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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