Effect of different forefoot rocker radii on lower-limb joint biomechanics in healthy individuals

L. van Kouwenhove*, G. J. Verkerke, K. Postema, R. Dekker, J. M. Hijmans

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
49 Downloads (Pure)


Introduction: Previous studies showed that rocker shoes with a stiff forefoot rocker profile significantly reduce peak plantar flexion moment at the ankle (PFM) and peak ankle dorsiflexion (DF). Both parameters are related to Achilles tendon and Plantar Fascia unloading. The shape of an outsole with a forefoot rocker is described with multiple rocker design parameters. The aim of this research is, to determine the relation between different forefoot rocker radii on peak DF and peak PFM at a self-selected walking speed.

Methods: 10 participants walked in standard shoes and three experimental pairs of shoes with different forefoot rocker radii. Lower extremity kinematics and kinetics were collected while walking on an instrumented treadmill at preferred walking speed and analysed with Statistical Parametric Mapping (SPM) (? = .05; post-hoc ? = .05/ 6).

Results: Peak value analyses showed significant decreases in peak DF, peak PFM, and peak ankle power generation for the rocker conditions. No relevant significant differences were found in spatio-temporal parameters and total work at the ankle joint. SPM showed a significant decrease (% gait cycle) in DF (40?69 %), PFM (7?15 %; 41?68 %; 69?81 %), ankle power (10?15 %; 32?51 %; 55?64 %; 64?67 %; 72?80 %) and foot-to-horizontal angle (FHA) (0?4 %; 40?62 %; 92?100 %) and an increased shank-to-vertical angle (SVA) (44?84 %) for the rocker conditions.

Conclusion: The results of this study suggest that rocker shoes with a proximally placed apex significantly reduce DF and PFM during the third rocker compared with control shoes. This effect is mainly explained by a change in the FHA. Smaller radii cause the largest reductions in DF and PFM, so therefore, a uniform standardisation of the forefoot rocker radius is essential.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)150-156
Number of pages7
JournalGait & Posture
Early online date2021
Publication statusPublished - May-2021


  • Rocker shoes
  • Forefoot rocker profile
  • Rollover footwear
  • Rollover shape
  • Rocker radius
  • SHOE
  • SOLE

Cite this