The effects of running in an exerted state on lower extremity kinematics and joint timing

Tracy A Dierks, Irene S Davis, Joseph Hamill
Journal of Biomechanics 2010 November 16, 43 (15): 2993-8
Runners rarely run to the point of maximum fatigue or exhaustion. However, no studies have investigated how the level of exertion associated with a typical running session influences running mechanics. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects that running in an exerted state had on the kinematics and joint timing within the lower extremity of uninjured, recreational runners. Twenty runners performed a prolonged treadmill run at a self-selected pace that best represented each runner's typical training run. The run ended based on heart rate or perceived exertion levels that represented a typical training run. Kinematics and joint timing between the foot, knee, and hip were analyzed at the beginning and end of the run. Increases were primarily observed at the end of the run for the peak angles, excursions, and peak velocities of eversion, tibial internal rotation, and knee internal rotation. No differences were observed for knee flexion, hip internal rotation, or any joint timing relationship. Based on these results, runners demonstrated subtle changes in kinematics in the exerted state, most notably for eversion. However, runners were able to maintain joint timing throughout the leg, which may have been a function of the knee. Thus, uninjured runners normally experience small alterations in kinematics when running with typical levels of exertion. It remains unknown how higher levels of exertion influence kinematics with joint timing and the association with running injuries, or how populations with running injuries respond to typical levels of exertion.

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