Does foot pitch at ground contact affect parachute landing technique?

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Whitting, JW, Steele, JR, Jaffrey, M & Munro, BJ 2009, 'Does foot pitch at ground contact affect parachute landing technique?', Military Medicine, vol. 174, no. 8, pp. 832-837.

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The Australian Defence Force Parachute Training School instructs trainees to make initial ground contact using a fl at foot whereas United States paratroopers are taught to contact the ground with the ball of the foot fi rst. This study aimed to determine whether differences in foot pitch affected parachute landing technique. Kinematic, ground reaction force and electromyographic data were analyzed for 28 parachutists who performed parachute landings (vertical descent velocity = 3.4 m·s −1 ) from a monorail apparatus. Independent t -tests were used to determine signifi cant ( p < 0.05) differences between variables characterizing foot pitch. Subjects who landed fl at-footed displayed less knee and ankle fl exion, sustained higher peak ground reaction forces, and took less time to reach peak force than those who landed on the balls of their feet. Although forefoot landings lowered ground reaction forces compared to landing fl at-footed, further research is required to confi rm whether this is a safer parachute landing strategy.

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