Foot structure is correlated with performance in a single-joint jumping task

Herman van Werkhoven, Stephen J. Piazza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Variability in musculoskeletal structure has the potential to influence locomotor function. It has been shown, for example, that sprinters have smaller Achilles tendon moment arms and longer toes than non-sprinters, and toe length has been found to correlate with toe flexor work in running humans. These findings suggest that interindividual variation in human foot structure allows for function that is adapted to various motor tasks. The purpose of this study was to test for correlations between foot anthropometry and single-joint maximal-height jumping performance. Ten male subjects performed static jumps using only their ankles for propulsion. Several anthropometric measures were taken. Bivariate correlation analyses were performed between all anthropometric variables and the average jump height for each subject. Results showed that the best jumpers had longer lateral heel lengths (r = 0.871; p = 0.001) and longer toes (r = 0.712; p = 0.021). None of the other anthropometric variables (stature, mass, lower extremity lengths) measured were found to correlate significantly with jump height. A factor analysis was performed to investigate whether some underlying feature related to body stature could explain jumping performance. Taller subjects did not necessarily jump higher. Specific variations in foot structure, unrelated to other general stature measures, were associated with performance in this single-joint jumping task.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-31
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
StatePublished - May 24 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Rehabilitation


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