Increased Barefoot Stride Variability Might Be Predictor Rather than Risk Factor for Overuse Injury in the Military

Darja Ņesteroviča-Petrikova (Coresponding Author), Normunds Vaivads, Ainārs Stepens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Footwear usage could be a promising focus in reducing musculoskeletal injury risk in lower extremities commonly observed among the military. The goal of this research was to find potential gait-related risk factors for lower leg overuse injuries. Cases (n = 32) were active-duty infantry soldiers who had suffered an overuse injury in the previous six months of service before enrolling in the study. The control group (n = 32) included infantry soldiers of the same age and gender who did not have a history of lower leg overuse injury. In the gait laboratory, individuals were asked to walk on a 5-m walkway. Rearfoot eversion, ankle plantar/dorsiflexion and stride parameters were evaluated for barefoot and shod conditions. Barefoot walking was associated with higher stride time variability among cases. According to the conditional regression analysis, stride time variability greater than 1.95% (AUC = 0.77, 95% CI (0.648 to 0.883), p < 0.001) during barefoot gait could predict lower leg overuse injury. Increased barefoot gait variability should be considered as a possible predictive factor for lower leg overuse injury in the military, and gait with military boots masked stride-related differences between soldiers with and without lower leg overuse injury.
Original languageEnglish
Article number6449
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jul 2023


  • Musculoskeletal injuries
  • Military personnel
  • Gait analysis
  • Stride variability
  • Infantry boot
  • infantry boot
  • stride variability
  • gait analysis
  • military personnel
  • musculoskeletal injuries

Field of Science*

  • 3.5 Other medical sciences

Publication Type*

  • 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database


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