Shoe drop reduction influences the lower limb biomechanics of children tennis players during an open stance forehand: A longitudinal study

  • Herbaut Alexis
  • Simoneau-Buessinger Emilie
  • Barbier Franck
  • Gillet Christophe
  • Roux Maxime
  • Gueguen Nils
  • Chavet Pascale

ART

Compared to traditional tennis shoes, using 0-drop shoes was shown to induce an immediate switch from rear- to forefoot strike pattern to perform an open stance tennis forehand for 30% of children tennis players. The purpose of the study was to examine the long-term effects of a gradual reduction in the shoe drop on the biomechanics of children tennis players performing open stance forehands. Thirty children tennis players participated in 2 laboratory biomechanical test sessions (intermediate: +4 months and final: +8 months) after an inclusion visit where they were randomly assigned to control (CON) or experimental (EXP) group. CON received 12-mm-drop shoes twice, whereas EXP received 8mm then 4-mm-drop shoes. Strike index indicated that all CON were rearfoot strikers in intermediate and final test sessions. All EXP were rearfoot strikers in intermediate test session, but half the group switched towards a forefoot strike pattern in final test session. This switch resulted in a decreased loading rate of the ground reaction force (-73%, p=.005) but increased peak ankle plantarflexors moment (+47%, p=.050) and peak ankle power absorption (+107%, p=.005) for these participants compared with CON. Biomechanical changes associated with the long-term use of partial minimalist shoes suggest a reduction in heel compressive forces but an increase in Achilles tendon tensile forces.