The influence of rocker profile footwear on rollover during walking
Oludare, Simisola O.
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Rocker profiles are one of the most commonly prescribed footwear modifications provided to individuals with impaired rollover. Impaired rollover is caused due to loss of neuromuscular function (i.e. stoke) or orthotic ankle constraint. When rollover is impaired, continued forward progression is interrupted and walking gait becomes less efficient (i.e. increased energy expenditure). Rocker profile footwear modifications are designed to mimic the functions of the anatomical ankle-foot rockers and provide its users with a smooth and efficient rollover. However, while there is theory governing the design of a rocker profile and subjective descriptions of rocker profile function, the extent to which a rocker profile footwear provides rollover has not yet been quantified. The aim of this study was to quantify effective and ineffective rollover and test whether our rocker profile provides effective rollover. We hypothesized that healthy subjects (n=4) walking with orthotic ankle constraint and the rocker profile (STOP) would have no change in rollover and energy expenditure outputs compared to walking with orthotic ankle free and rocker profile (FREE); but that healthy subjects (n=4) walking in STOP would have a change in rollover and energy expenditure outputs compared to walking with orthotic ankle constraint and no rocker profile (STOP-NR). To test this hypothesis, rollover was quantified as stance phase duration, cadence and radius of curvature and energy expenditure was quantified as heart rate and rating of perceived exertion. In addition to these outputs, we analyzed the ground reaction forces and duration of stance in early, middle and late stance period to determine the effects of the rocker profile footwear components. Through the rollover and energy expenditure outputs of the STOP, FREE and STOP-NR conditions, we quantified effective rollover as 0.29 (0.01) radius of curvature with a heart rate of 110.5(6.7) bpm and ineffective rollover as 0.69(0.12) radius of curvature with a heart rate of 131.5 (8.1) bpm. By creating this scale, we were able to determine that our rocker profile provided effective rollover (0.34[0.04] radius of curvature with a heart rate of 111.3[8.3] bpm). However, a future study with a greater sample size is needed to confirm these results.