Walking in Minimalist Shoes Is Effective for Strengthening Foot Muscles

Sarah T. Ridge; Mark T. Olsen; Dustin A. Bruening; Kevin Jurgensmeier; David Griffin; Irene S. Davis; A. Wayne Johnson

Disclosures

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2019;51(1):104-113. 

In This Article

Results

All muscle size and strength data showed statistically significant interactions between group and time (all measurements except GT, LT, and FDL; P < 0.003; GT, P = 0.039; LT, P = 0.017; FDL, P = 0.022).

All muscles measured in the FS and MSW groups increased significantly in size from weeks 0 to 8 (Figure 2; see also Appendix 1, Supplemental Digital Content 1, aggregate size and strength data, http://links.lww.com/MSS/B376). The average muscle size change from weeks 0 to 8 in the FS group was 11.32% ± 2.86% of the baseline value. The MSW walking group showed an average change of 7.05% ± 2.92% over the same period of time. There were no changes in muscle sizes in the control group between weeks 0, 4, and 8 (average change from week 0 to 8 was −0.08% ± 1.35%). The average percent change for each muscle is listed by group in Appendix 1 (Supplemental Digital Content 1, aggregate size and strength data, http://links.lww.com/MSS/B376). In the FS group, six muscles increased significantly in size at week 4, whereas three muscles increased significantly in MSW.

Figure 2.

Muscle size and strength data for each group (C, FS) at each measurement time (W0, week 0; W4, week 4; W8, week 8). Seven muscles were measured. Three strength tests were conducted.

In comparison to the control group, all muscles changed significantly more in the FS and MSW groups from week 0 to week 4, except for the FDL (in the FS group) and the FHB (in the MSW group) (Figure 3; see also Appendix 2, Supplemental Digital Content 2, aggregate change in size and strength data, http://links.lww.com/MSS/B377). The FS group experienced significantly greater size changes for the FHB (weeks 0–4, 4–8, and 0–8), QP (weeks 4–8), and FDB (weeks 4–8) than the MSW group. All other changes in muscle size were not significant between the FS and MSW groups.

Figure 3.

Muscle size and strength changes from week 0 to week 4 (W0–W4), from week 4 to week 8 (W4–W8), and week 0 to week 8 (W0–W8) for each group (C, FS). Error bars represent standard deviation. Seven muscles were measured. Three strength tests were conducted.

The FS and MSW groups showed significant increases in strength in all three tests from week 0 to 8 (Figure 2; see also Appendix 1, Supplemental Digital Content 1, aggregate size and strength data, http://links.lww.com/MSS/B376). Strength of the control group did not change at any time. Average percent changes for all strength tests were C = 4.98% ± 2.94%, FS = 58.48% ± 33.91%, MSW = 41.11% ± 12.55%. The average percent change for each strength test is listed by group in Appendix 1 (Supplemental Digital Content 1, aggregate size and strength data, http://links.lww.com/MSS/B376).

Comparison of strength between groups at the beginning of the study showed that the FS group was significantly weaker than the control group during the doming test (P = 0.032). At week 4, both FS and MSW groups increased doming and GT flexion strength. The increases in strength in the FS and MSW groups were not significantly different than each other.

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