The Influence in Airforce Soldiers Through Wearing Certain Types of Army-Issue Footwear on Muscle Activity in the Lower Extremities

Christoph Schulze*, 1, 2, Tobias Lindner1, Katharina Schulz1, Susanne Finze1, Guenther Kundt3, Wolfram Mittelmeier1, Rainer Bader1
1 Department of Orthopaedics, University of Rostock, Doberaner Str. 142, D-18057 Rostock, Germany
2 Air Force Medical Squadron, Gnoiener Chaussee, D-18334 Bad Suelze, Germany
3 Institute for Medical Informatics and Biometry, University of Rostock, Rembrandtstr. 16/17, D-18057 Rostock, Germany

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© Schulze et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Orthopädische Klinik und Poliklinik, Universität Rostock, Doberaner Str. 142, D-18057 Rostock, Germany; Tel: +49(0)381 4949334; Fax: +49(0)381 4949308; E-mail:


The objective of the study was to analyse the influence of the shape and material of the military footwear worn by soldiers on muscle activity in the lower extremities, and whether such footwear could explain specific strain complaints and traumatic lesions in the region of the lower extremities.

37 soldiers (one woman, 36 men) aged between 20 and 53 years underwent a dynamic electromyography (EMG) analysis. Wearing – one pair at a time - five different types of shoes, the subjects were asked to walk on a treadmill, where an EMG of the following muscles was taken: M. tibialis anterior, M. gastrocnemius mediales, M. gastrocnemius laterales, M. peroneus longus and M. rectus femoris.

When the subjects wore old-fashioned outdoor jogging shoes increased muscle activity was observed in the region of the M. peroneus longus. This can be interpreted as a sign of the upper ankle joint requiring increased support and thus explain the higher susceptibility to sprains experienced in connection with these shoes. When the subjects wore combat boots, increased activity was observed in the region of the Mm. tibialis anterior and rectus femoris. The specific activity differences that were observed in particular muscles may have influence in the occurrence of certain disorders, especially in untrained recruits. This can be linked to various strain-related disorders such as shin splints and patellofemoral pain. The data obtained using EMG can provide information about the likelihood of a clustering of the complaints experienced by soldiers during training or active service.

Keywords: Musculoskeletal disorders, lower extremities, EMG, military shoes.