Background: Treadmills are often used in research, clinical practice, and training. Biomechanical investigations comparing treadmill and overground running report inconsistent findings.
Objective: This study aimed at comparing biomechanical outcomes between motorized treadmill and overground running.
Methods: Four databases were searched until June 2019. Crossover design studies comparing lower limb biomechanics during non-inclined, non-cushioned, quasi-constant-velocity motorized treadmill running with overground running in healthy humans (18-65 years) and written in English were included. Meta-analyses and meta-regressions were performed where possible.
Results: 33 studies (n = 494 participants) were included. Most outcomes did not differ between running conditions. However, during treadmill running, sagittal foot-ground angle at footstrike (mean difference (MD) - 9.8° [95% confidence interval: - 13.1 to - 6.6]; low GRADE evidence), knee flexion range of motion from footstrike to peak during stance (MD 6.3° [4.5 to 8.2]; low), vertical displacement center of mass/pelvis (MD - 1.5 cm [- 2.7 to - 0.8]; low), and peak propulsive force (MD - 0.04 body weights [- 0.06 to - 0.02]; very low) were lower, while contact time (MD 5.0 ms [0.5 to 9.5]; low), knee flexion at footstrike (MD - 2.3° [- 3.6 to - 1.1]; low), and ankle sagittal plane internal joint moment (MD - 0.4 Nm/kg [- 0.7 to - 0.2]; low) were longer/higher, when pooled across overground surfaces. Conflicting findings were reported for amplitude of muscle activity.
Conclusions: Spatiotemporal, kinematic, kinetic, muscle activity, and muscle-tendon outcome measures are largely comparable between motorized treadmill and overground running. Considerations should, however, particularly be given to sagittal plane kinematic differences at footstrike when extrapolating treadmill running biomechanics to overground running. Protocol registration CRD42018083906 (PROSPERO International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews).
A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Crossover Studies Comparing Physiological, Perceptual and Performance Measures Between Treadmill and Overground RunningJR Miller et al. Sports Med 49 (5), 763-782. PMID 30847825. - ReviewSome, but not all, variables differ between treadmill and overground running, and may be dependent on the running speed at which they are assessed.
Joint Kinematics and Ground Reaction Forces in Overground Versus Treadmill Graded RunningCR Firminger et al. Gait Posture 63, 109-113. PMID 29729612.Joint kinematics and ground reaction forces for level running were generally similar between overground and treadmill conditions. The following variables were significant …
Three-dimensional Kinematic Comparison of Treadmill and Overground RunningJ Sinclair et al. Sports Biomech 12 (3), 272-82. PMID 24245052.The treadmill is an attractive device for the investigation of human locomotion, yet the extent to which lower limb kinematics differ from overground running remains a co …
Comparison of Methods for Kinematic Identification of Footstrike and Toe-Off During Overground and Treadmill RunningRE Fellin et al. J Sci Med Sport 13 (6), 646-50. PMID 20478742.When analysing gait, the identification of the period of stance is often needed. Forceplates are typically used, but in their absence kinematic data can be employed. Five …
Running Biomechanics in Individuals With Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction: A Systematic ReviewB Pairot-de-Fontenay et al. Sports Med 49 (9), 1411-1424. PMID 31102111. - ReviewAfter ACL-R, knee flexion motion and internal knee extension moment are the most affected variables and are consistently smaller in the injured limb during running when p …