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28.09.2018 | Original Article | Ausgabe 12/2018

European Journal of Applied Physiology 12/2018

Effects of barefoot and footwear conditions on learning of a dynamic balance task: a randomized controlled study

Zeitschrift:
European Journal of Applied Physiology > Ausgabe 12/2018
Autoren:
Astrid Zech, Stephanie Meining, Kirsten Hötting, Dominik Liebl, Klaus Mattes, Karsten Hollander
Wichtige Hinweise
Communicated by Håkan Westerblad.

Abstract

Purpose

Although barefoot balancing has shown to be more challenging compared to shod balancing, it is still unclear whether this may also influence the balance learning effects. The purpose of this study was to explore the impact of barefoot and shod exercising on learning of a dynamic balance task.

Methods

Sixty healthy and physically active adults (mean age 25.3 ± 3.4 years) were randomly allocated into one of three groups (barefoot, shod and controls). The barefoot and shod intervention groups exercised once weekly over 7 weeks on a stability platform with an unstable surface. Each training session included 15 trials over 30 s. Before and after the intervention period, all participants completed two balance tests (stability platform and Balance Error Scoring System = BESS) under barefoot and shod conditions. Group effects in stability gains (pre to post-test differences) were analysed using ANOVA. Development of balance learning curves during the intervention period was analysed using a mixed effects model.

Results

Balance times improved in both intervention groups (p < 0.001, 95% CI barefoot 5.82–9.22 s, shod 7.51–10.92 s) compared to controls. The barefoot intervention group showed a significantly less sloped balance learning curve compared to the shod intervention group (p = 0.033). No changes over time or differences between groups were found for the BESS test.

Conclusions

Improvements in the dynamic balance task did not differ between individuals exercising barefoot or with footwear although the progression was slower in the barefoot group. The lack of changes in the BESS supports the task-specificity of balance learning effects.

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