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There is still uncertainty concerning the beneficial effects of shoe collar height for ankle sprain prevention and very few data are available in the literature regarding the effect of high-top and low-top shoes on muscle responses during landing. The purpose of this study was to quantify the effect of high-top and low-top shoes on ankle inversion kinematics and pre-landing EMG activation of ankle evertor muscles during landing on a tilted surface.


Thirteen physical education students landed on four types of surfaces wearing either high-top shoes (HS) or low-top shoes (LS). The four conditions were 15° inversion, 30° inversion, combined 25° inversion + 10° plantar flexion, and combined 25° inversion + 20° plantar flexion. Ankle inversion kinematics and EMG data of the tibialis anterior (TA), peroneus longus (PL), and peroneus brevis (PB) muscles were measured simultaneously. A 2 × 4 (shoe × surface) repeated measures ANOVA was performed to examine the effect of shoe and landing surfaces on ankle inversion and EMG responses.


No significant differences were observed between the various types of shoes in the maximum ankle inversion angle, the ankle inversion range of motion, and the maximum ankle inversion angular velocity after foot contact for all conditions. However, the onset time of TA and PB muscles was significantly later wearing HS compared to LS for the 15° inversion condition. Meanwhile, the mean amplitude of the integrated EMG from the 50 ms prior to contact (aEMGpre) of TA was significantly lower with HS compared to LS for the 15° inversion condition and the combined 25° inversion + 20° plantarflexion condition. Similarly, the aEMGpre when wearing HS compared to LS also showed a 37.2% decrease in PL and a 31.0% decrease in PB for the combined 25° inversion + 20° plantarflexion condition and the 15° inversion condition, respectively.


These findings provide preliminary evidence suggesting that wearing high-top shoes can, in certain conditions, induce a delayed pre-activation timing and decreased amplitude of evertor muscle activity, and may therefore have a detrimental effect on establishing and maintaining functional ankle joint stability.

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