Iman Akef Khowailed

Iman Akef Khowailed

College of Health and Human Services, Touro University Nevada.

Title: 6 Weeks Habituation of Simulated Barefoot Running Induces Neuromuscular Adaptations and Changes in Foot-Strike Patterns in Female Runners


Dr Iman Akef Khowailed is an assistant professor in the School of Physical therapy at Touro University Nevada. Dr Akef received her Doctor of Science from Loma Linda University in 2014. She earned her master degree in biomechanics from Cairo University in 2010 & her bachelor degree in physical therapy in 2004. Dr Akef has been teaching at both the entry level and post professional level of physical therapy for the last 10 years. Dr Akef’s research interests relate to the physiological & biomechanical aspects of human movement. More specifically, her research focuses on the effects of hormonal fluctuation on the physiological adaptations and neuromuscular control in female runners. She also interested in the altered kinematics, kinetics, and muscular actions contributing to lower extremity injury among female runners. She has been practicing as a physical therapist since 2005 with an interest in musculoskeletal clinical practice in both Egypt and the United States.


Background: To examine the effects of 6 weeks training program of simulated barefoot running (SBR) on running kinetics in habitually shod female recreational runners.

Material and Methods: 12 female runners age 25.7± 3.4 years gradually increased running distance in Vibram Five fingers over 6 weeks. The kinetic analysis of treadmill running at 10Km/h was performed pre and post intervention in shod running, non-habituated SBR and habituated SBR conditions. Spatiotemporal parameters, ground reaction force components and Electromyography (EMG) were measured in all conditions.

Results: Post intervention data indicated a significant decrease across time in the habituation SBR for EMG activity of the tibialis anterior (TA) in the preactivation and absorptive phase of running (P<0.001). A significant increase was denoted in the preactivation amplitude of the gastrocnemius (GAS) between the shod running, unhabituated SBR and Habituated SBR. 6 weeks of SBR was associated with a significant decrease in the loading rates and impact forces. Additionally, SBR significantly decrease the stride length, step duration, flight time whilst stride frequency was significantly higher compared to shod running.

Conclusion: The findings of this study indicate that changes in motor patterns in previously habitually shod runners are possible and can be accomplished within 6 weeks.  Non habituation SBR didnt showed a significant neuromuscular adaptation in the EMG activity of TA & GAS as manifested after 6 weeks of habituated SBR.