Backward walking (BW) has been extensively used in athletic training and orthopedic rehabilitation as it may be valuable for enhancing balance. The present study identified the differences in foot inter-segment kinematics (forward walking (FW) vs. time-reversed BW) and plantar pressure parameters of sixteen healthy habitually shod individuals walking FW and BW with flexible shoes (SH) and barefoot (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 walking induced 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 higher plantar contact area in the medial side in BW-BF maybe beneficial to maintain balance. These results indicate that BW training may be more reliable under BF conditions compared to SH conditions based on more sensory information feedback from the plantar area and better biomechanical behavior.
- Foot kinematics
- Backward walking