Effects of Increased Q-Factor on Knee Biomechanics During Stationary Cycling

Q-Factor (QF), the inter-pedal width, in cycling is the analog to step-width in gait. Increased step-width has been shown to reduce peak knee abduction moment (KabM), however no studies have examined the frontal plane biomechanics with increased QF in cycling. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of increased QF on frontal plane knee biomechanics during cycling in healthy participants. Sixteen healthy participants (age: 22.4 ± 2.6 yr, BMI: 22.78 ± 1.43 kg/m2) participated in this study. A motion analysis system and customized instrumented pedals were used to collect five trials of three-dimensional kinematic (240 Hz) and pedal reaction force (PRF, 1200 Hz) data in twelve testing conditions, four QF conditions of Q150 (150 mm), Q192 (192 mm), Q234 (342 mm), Q276 (276 mm), and three workrate conditions of 80 W, 120 W, and 160 W. A 3 × 4 (QF × workrate) repeated measures ANOVA was performed to analyze differences between conditions (p < 0.05). Increased QF increased peak KAbM 47, 56, and 56% from Q150 to Q276 at each workrate respectively. Mediolateral PRF increased 46, 57, and 57% from Q150 to Q276 at each workrate. Frontal plane knee angle and range of motion (ROM) decreased with increased QF. No changes were observed for peak vertical PRF, knee extension moment, sagittal plane peak knee joint angles or ROM. Conclusions: These results indicate increasing QF will increase peak KAbM. Future studies should examine the effects of increased QF on obese and knee osteoarthritis patients.
Listed In: Biomechanics, Sports Science