Kohles, Sean S.
Cleated footwear is often associated with injury to the foot and/or ankle in sports such as soccer, football and baseball. This project focused on the proposed relationship between athletic shoe placement and the resulting injuries that often occur in youth athletes. Biomechanics of shoe design, including cleat top-type, number and placement, mechanisms of injury, and torques developed by shoe-surface interaction are a few of the factors discussed that may contribute to sporting injuries. Review of the podiatry literature was done in order to validate this relationship. Existing work was obtained and comprehended to note any correlation between injury site and typical cleat placement. In addition, local podiatrists were surveyed and interviewed to obtain supplementary verification for such a relationship. It was found that cleat lengths longer than 1/2", low numbers of cleats on the shoe and unfit placement of cleats are factors that attribute to an increased incidence of foot/ankle injury. There are also factors not associated with the shoe construction of cleated footwear that can lead to increased risk of injury. These include predisposition to injury, play on broken surfaces, level of motivation and aggressiveness, and incorrect cleat usage (i.e. using football cleats during soccer play). This investigation has analyzed cleat construction and design as associated with injuries that occur in associated sports. The results of this project conclude that there are risk factors that have to do with the cleat itself, as well as with the previously mentioned external factors. These results will be useful to athletes, podiatrists and the shoe industry. Athletes can weigh the benefits of cleat use against the risks when choosing to use them, podiatrists can convey such risks to their patients, and the shoe industry can note such risks and structure their products to reduce resultant injury.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
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