February 2021

Effect of Walking with Combat Boots on the Muscle Tone and Stiffness of Lower Extremity

Authors: Joongsan Wanga 1, Sieun Park 2, Jeongja Kim 1


  1. Department of Physical Therapy, Howon University
  2. Department of Physical Therapy, Woosong University

Journal: Journal of International Academy of Physical Therapy Research - December 2020, Volume 11, No.4, Pages 2221-2228 (DOI: 10.20540/JIAPTR.2020.11.4.2221)

Background: Shoes cover the feet and ankle joints and come into contact with the ground directly during walking, and the shape of shoes is related to the muscle tone of the lower extremity muscles. However, no study has been conducted on the muscle tone of the lower extremity after wearing combat boots.

Objectives: To compare and analyze the effects of walking in combat boots and in athletic shoes on muscle tone and stiffness, to identifying the effect of the characteristics of shoes on the muscle tone.

Design: Randomized controlled trial.

Methods: Thirty subjects were randomly divided into a combat boots group and an athletic shoes group, and interventions were implemented. Both groups walked for 30 minutes on a treadmill at 4.2 km/h. MyotonPRO device was used to measure the muscle tone and stiffness of the lower extremity. The measuring sites were set to five muscles on both legs.

Results: In the combat boots group, muscle tone and stiffness of the medial gastrocnemius on the dominant side, the muscle tone and stiffness of rectus femoris, and the muscle stiffness of hamstring on the non-dominant side significantly decreased after walking. In the athletic shoes group, there was no significant change in the muscle tone and stiffness.

Conclusion: The results of this study can be used to inform the wearing combat boots while walking on a treadmill reduces the muscle tone and stiffness of the lower extremity compared to athletic shoes. It indicates that the restriction of joint movement occurring when wearing combat boots influences reducing muscle tone and stiffness.

Combat boots relatively limit the movement of the ankle joint compared to athletic shoes, and this characteristic has an effect on decreasing the muscle tone of the lower extremity muscles. Based on the results of this study, if the effects on the muscle tone and stiffness of the lower extremity muscles are taken into account when developing combat boots and the results are used for product development, the products can be utilized more diversely not only by soldiers but also by subjects with high muscle tone or hypermobility of the ankle joint and other similar conditions.