The Effect of a Heel Insert Intervention on Achilles Tendon Loading during Running in Soccer

Daniel C. Low* and Sharon J. Dixon

The Effect of a Heel Insert Intervention on Achilles Tendon Loading during Running in Soccer.

Soccer is an intermittent sport, made up of periods of low intensity activity such as running and short high intensity movements such as sprinting and jumping. These repetitive activities place the performer at considerable risk of injury, particularly to the Achilles Tendon (AT).

Use of a soccer boot may therefore result in a more typical running strategy in those who are
familiar with wearing the footwear. Alternatively, it is possible that the rate at which the AT structure is loaded rather than the peak force applied may be indicative of the mechanism behind
reduced pain and injury.14 Individual mechanical differences in running gait are also an inherent source of variance in running patterns and may influence the user’s response to the heel insert intervention. Consequently, some athletes have experience significant alterations in estimates of loading while others did not.11,14 Such a reason, may explain literature findings that describes no effect of a heel insert intervention on injury risk.21 As a consequence, looking at changes in AT load using pooled data may disguise the response of some individuals to the intervention.

The aim of the present investigation is to address the previous studies limitations, to assess the influence of a commercially available heel insert on peak plantar flexion moment and estimated AT force experienced by soccer players. It is also important to acknowledge that the aetiology of AT injury has been related to a change in calcaneal friction rather than force magnitude.

Sport Exerc Med Open J. 2015; 1(6): 167-173. doi: 10.17140/SEMOJ-1-126