Protective firefighting boots and their impact on the lower body and injury: a narrative review

Wayne Spratford, Vy Vu, Nick Ball, Anthony Walker

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    3 Citations (Scopus)


    BACKGROUND: Firefighting is a physically demanding occupation where workers are exposed to a significantly increased risk of injuries. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this narrative review was to examine the literature surrounding protective firefighting boots and their relationship to lower body and lumbar biomechanics and potential injury. METHODS: An exhaustive search of peer reviewed firefighting literature was undertaken across 300 databases with 12 articles fitting the inclusion criteria and subsequently synthesised for the purposes of this review. RESULTS: The evidence suggested that protective firefighting boots restricted the range of motion at both the ankle and the metatarsophalangeal joints, with changes subsequently observed for centre of pressure traces as well as at the knee and hip joints. These changes influenced gait characteristics during the stance and swing phases, with the potential to alter landing strategies adopted during occupational specific activities, all of which place firefighters at an increased risk of lower body and lumbar injuries. CONCLUSIONS: As a majority of the research was conducted with firefighters wearing personal protective equipment in conjunction with standard issue boots, to date, it remains unclear as to how protective firefighting boots in isolation or design differences influence lower body movement and injury.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)147-155
    Number of pages9
    JournalOccupational Ergonomics
    Issue number3-4
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


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