Reducing the Shock of Military TrainingThe lower leg bone (tibia) is at risk for fractures from overuse. This can happen in both sports and military training. Any kind of walking, marching, or running can put high stress and strain on the bone. Tiny fractures can develop. These are called stress reactions or stress fractures. They are very painful and keep the athlete or recruit from running or even walking.
Studies are being done around the world to find a way to prevent such stress fractures from happening. In Sweden a group of doctors are using shoe inserts to help lower the strain on the bone. With today's advanced technology, researchers can measure the force on the bones with and without shoe inserts. These measurements are taken in military boots and athletic shoes. Volunteers from a highly-trained police force are involved.
The results of a small study (nine officers) have been reported. The authors of this study report that specially designed shoe inserts can make a difference. Stress fractures may be prevented during military training. This is true for walking activities in boots. However, inserts don't seem to make a difference for running in boots or walking or running in shoes.
Shoe inserts may be used to prevent tibial stress fractures. They work best when worn with military boots for walking or marching. These inserts are not as effective with running shoes for any activity or for military boots during running. In fact, inserts inside shoes have been shown in some cases to actually increase strain during running.
Ingrid Ekenman, MD, et al. The Role of Biomechanical Shoe Orthoses in Tibial Stress Fracture Prevention. In American Journal of Sports Medicine. November/December 2002. Vol. 30. No. 6. Pp. 866-870.
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