Primary and secondary effects of real-time feedback to reduce vertical loading rate during running

Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2017 May;27(5):501-507. doi: 10.1111/sms.12670. Epub 2016 Mar 19.

Abstract

Gait modifications are often proposed to reduce average loading rate (AVLR) during running. While many modifications may reduce AVLR, little work has investigated secondary gait changes. Thirty-two rearfoot runners [16M, 16F, 24.7 (3.3) years, 22.72 (3.01) kg/m2 , >16 km/week] ran at a self-selected speed (2.9 ± 0.3 m/s) on an instrumented treadmill, while 3D mechanics were calculated via real-time data acquisition. Real-time visual feedback was provided in a randomized order to cue a forefoot strike (FFS), a minimum 7.5% decrease in step length, or a minimum 15% reduction in AVLR. AVLR was reduced by FFS (mean difference = 26.4 BW/s; 95% CI = 20.1, 32.7; P < 0.001), shortened step length (8.4 BW/s; 95% CI = 2.9, 14.0; P = 0.004), and cues to reduce AVLR (14.9 BW/s; 95% CI = 10.2, 19.6; P < 0.001). FFS, shortened step length, and cues to reduce AVLR all reduced eccentric knee joint work per km [(-48.2 J/kg*m; 95% CI = -58.1, -38.3; P < 0.001), (-35.5 J/kg*m; 95% CI = -42.4, 28.6; P < 0.001), (-23.1 J/kg*m; 95% CI = -33.3, -12.9; P < 0.001)]. However, FFS and cues to reduce AVLR also increased eccentric ankle joint work per km [(54.49 J/kg*m; 95% CI = 45.3, 63.7; P < 0.001), (9.20 J/kg*m; 95% CI = 1.7, 16.7; P = 0.035)]. Potentially injurious secondary effects associated with FFS and cues to reduce AVLR may undermine their clinical utility. Alternatively, a shortened step length resulted in small reductions in AVLR, without any potentially injurious secondary effects.

Keywords: Tibial stress fracture; cadence; foot strike; gait modification.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomechanical Phenomena / physiology
  • Female
  • Foot / physiology*
  • Forefoot, Human / physiology
  • Gait / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint / physiology
  • Male
  • Running / injuries
  • Running / physiology*
  • Stress, Physiological / physiology
  • Weight-Bearing / physiology*
  • Young Adult