Running Biomechanics

VERTICAL GROUND REACTION FORCE ASYMMETRY DURING UPHILL, LEVEL AND DOWNHILL RUNNING

INTRODUCTION Running-related injuries are most often single-sided and are partially attributed to lower limb movement and loading asymmetries. For example, runners with tibial stress fractures demonstrate asymmetry in loading rate. Running is a dynamic athletic event in which runners often engage in both inclined and declined running with the goal of improving conditioning. Symmetry Angle (SA) is a commonly used, robust measure of determining symmetry. The purpose of this study was to compare peak vertical ground reaction force (VGRF) symmetry using the SA during uphill, level and downhill running on an instrumented treadmill. METHODS Eleven healthy adults volunteered to participate in this study and running at 2.7 m/s at grades of 0°, 5.74° incline and 5.74° decline were analyzed. SA was computed using the peak VGRF values from both the limbs. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION No statistically significant differences in SA were observed between the three running conditions. (p=0.61) The unexpected uniformity in vertical GRF across uphill, level, and downhill running is consistent with the absence of changes in the peak magnitudes of the GRF observed previously. This suggests that neither moderate uphill or downhill running result in increases in peak GRF that may be considered injurious. CONCLUSIONS This was the first study that looked at kinetic symmetry using peak GRF in healthy recreational runners during the three running conditions. This study suggested that uphill and downhill running does not contribute to potential differences in interlimb symmetry and could be considered as a safe alternative to level running on a treadmill.
Listed In: Biomechanics, Gait