Changing step width alters lower extremity biomechanics during running

Gait Posture. 2014 Jan;39(1):124-8. doi: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2013.06.010. Epub 2013 Jul 5.


Step width is a spatiotemporal parameter that may influence lower extremity biomechanics at the hip and knee joint. The purpose of this study was to determine the biomechanical response of the lower extremity joints to step width changes during running. Lower extremity data from 30 healthy runners, half of them male, were collected during running in three step width conditions: preferred, wide, and narrow. Dependent variables and step width were analyzed using a mixed model ANOVA and pairwise t-tests for post hoc comparisons. Step width was successfully altered in the wide and narrow conditions. Generally, frontal plane peak values decreased as step width increased from narrow to preferred to wide. Peak hip adduction and rearfoot eversion angles decreased as step width increased from narrow to wide. Peak knee abduction moment and knee abduction impulse also decreased as step width increased from narrow to wide. Although men and women ran differently, gender only influenced the effect of step width on peak rearfoot inversion moment. In conclusion, step width influences lower extremity biomechanics in healthy runners. When step width increased from narrow to wide, peak values of frontal plane variables decreased. In addition to previously reported changes at the rearfoot, the hip and knee joint biomechanics were also influenced by changes in step width.

Keywords: Frontal plane; Hip; Kinematics; Kinetics.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Female
  • Foot / physiology
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint / physiology
  • Lower Extremity / physiology*
  • Male
  • Running / physiology*
  • Young Adult