Running Biomechanics


INTRODUCTION:Previous studies have reported that men and women demonstrate distinctly different biomechanics during running and that older runners use a variety of biomechanical adaptations compared with younger runners. It is hypothesized that excessive asymmetry due to biomechanical and anatomical abnormalities contributes to increased risk of injuries, however it is still unclear how age and gender might impact this.METHODS: A cross sectional study was employed and healthy recreational runners were categorized into four groups based on age and gender.Two-way multivariate analysis of variance was performed with age and gender as factors and Symmetry Angle values for peak hip adduction angle (HA), peak knee adduction moment (KAM), peak knee flexion angle (KF), and peak vertical ground reaction force (VGRF) were used as the dependent variables. RESULTS: Overall, gender had a significant effect on HA asymmetry (p=0.02) and both gender and age showed a significant interaction effect on KAM asymmetry (p=0.04).CONCLUSIONS:This study suggests that interlimb asymmetry in running gait for KAM and HA also differs with aging and gender.Understanding age and gender related adaptations in interlimb asymmetry will help improve running performance and develop programs aimed at reducing injury rates.
Listed In: Biomechanics, Gait, Orthopedic Research

Association of isometric hip and ankle strength with frontal plane kinetics in females during running

Frontal plane mechanics have been associated with running-related injuries such as patellofemoral pain. Strengthening and gait retraining programs aimed at reducing hip adduction during running have been shown to be effective at alleviating symptoms, however evidence of their effect on running kinematics is equivocal. It is possible that such programs exert their benefits through altering kinetics rather than kinematics in the frontal plane during running. Further, the contributions of the ankle to frontal plane mechanics have not been well studied. PURPOSE: To determine if hip and ankle strength are associated with frontal plane kinetics in female runners. METHODS: 64 healthy women running at least 16km per week participated in this study. Isometric hip abduction and ankle inversion strength were measured using a handheld dynamometer. 3D gait analysis was conducted as participants ran on an instrumented treadmill at 2.7 m/s. Participants were ranked in order of isometric strength of both the hip and ankle, and divided into tertiles of high, medium and low strength. 2-way MANOVA was used to determine the relationship between strength and peak moment, positive work and negative work in the frontal plane of the hip and the ankle. Tukey post-hoc tests were conducted where applicable (α=0.05). RESULTS: There was no significant interaction effect, or main effect of hip strength. There was a significant main effect of ankle strength on frontal plane kinetics (p=0.024). Specifically, the strong ankle group compared to the weak ankle group had significantly greater magnitude of peak ankle inversion moment (0.95(0.32) vs 0.68(0.22) Nm/kg, p=0.033), hip abduction moment (-2.78(1.02) vs -1.88(0.24) Nm/kg, p=0.002) and hip frontal plane positive work (0.27(0.19) vs. 0.13(0.03) W/kg, p=0.006). CONCLUSION: Isometric ankle but not hip strength is associated with kinetics in the frontal plane during running in females. Thus ankle strength should not be overlooked in clinical evaluation and treatment of runners.
Listed In: Biomechanics, Gait, Physical Therapy, Sports Science


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