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Foot & Ankle Specialist

The Impact of the Spartathlon Ultramarathon Race on Athletes’ Plantar Pressure Patterns

Abstract: More than 90% of injuries in runners are recorded in the lower extremity, equally affecting the regions of the knee, shank, and foot. Stress fractures are responsible for numerous running-related injuries. In the current study, the plantar pressure patterns of prerace, immediately postrace, and 24 hours after long-distance running in the Spartathlon were analyzed to compare foot loading in the respective conditions. Forty-six male participants of the Spartathlon ultramarathon were examined before, immediately after completion of the race, and 24 hours later with plantar pressure measurements during barefoot walking on a capacitive platform. The results revealed a significant increase in the peak pressure and impulse values in the forefoot areas and a decrease under the toes before and immediately after the race. On the contrary, no significant differences were found between the prerace and the 24-hour postrace values. The present findings indicate that the Spartathlon race leads to significant variations in foot-loading characteristics, especially in the peak pressure and impulse values under the forefoot and toe regions. Twenty-four-hour postrace data measurements reveal insignificant differences from the prerace statement, probably because of the restoration of local muscular activity.

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