Foot Motion Character During Forward and Backward Walking With Shoes and Barefoot

Dong Sun, Gusztáv Fekete, Julien BAKER, Yaodong Gu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Backward walking (BW) has been extensively used in athletic training and orthopedic rehabilitation as it may have value for enhancing balance. This study identified the differences in foot intersegment kinematics (forward walking (FW) vs. time-reversed BW) and plantar pressure parameters of 16 healthy habitually shod individuals walking FW and BW using flexible shoes (SH) and under barefoot conditions (BF). BW was found to have shorter stride length (SL) and higher stride frequency (SF) under BF conditions compared with SH, which indicates a better BW gait stability under BF conditions. Decreased HX/FF dorsiflexion at HO in BW induces less plantar aponeurosis tension which may inhibit the windlass mechanism compared to FW walking. Increased forefoot relative to hindfoot (FF/HF) pronation and sequentially hindfoot relative to tibia (HF/TB) eversion combined with medially distributed plantar pressure and a higher plantar contact area in the medial side in BW–BF maybe beneficial in maintaining balance. These results indicate that BW training may be more reliable under BF conditions compared to the SH conditions based on greater sensory information feedback from the plantar area resulting in better biomechanical behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)214-225
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Motor Behavior
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 3 Mar 2020

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

User-Defined Keywords

  • backward walking
  • barefoot
  • Foot kinematics
  • shoes


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