Effect of work boot shaft stiffness and sole flexibility on boot clearance and shank muscle activity when walking on simulated coal mining surfaces: implications for reducing trip risk
Mining work boot shaft stiffness and sole flexibility variations are likely to affect how a miner moves their foot to clear the ground thus influencing their risk of tripping. Despite the potential negative consequences associated with tripping, limited research has investigated how these boot design features might contribute to a miner’s trip risk. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the effects of systematic variations to boot shaft stiffness and sole flexibility on lower limb alignment and shank muscle activity at toe off and boot clearance during initial swing when 20 males walked across two simulated coal mining surfaces. Although knee and hip alignment remained constant, changes to boot shaft stiffness and sole flexibility significantly interacted to influence the shank muscle activity and ankle alignment displayed at toe off. To reduce the risk of tripping, underground coal miners should avoid a boot with a stiff shaft, regardless of the sole flexibility.
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