The Effectiveness of Gait Retraining on Running Kinematics, Kinetics, Performance, Pain, and Injury in Distance Runners: A Systematic Review With Meta-analysis

J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2022 Apr;52(4):192-A5. doi: 10.2519/jospt.2022.10585. Epub 2022 Feb 5.


Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of running gait retraining on kinematics, kinetics, performance, pain, and injury in distance runners.

Design: Intervention systematic review with meta-analysis.

Literature search: Seven electronic databases from inception to March 2021.

Trial selection criteria: Randomized controlled trials that (1) evaluated running gait retraining compared to no intervention, usual training, placebo, or standard care and (2) reported biomechanical, physiological, performance, or clinical outcomes.

Data synthesis: Random-effects metaanalyses were completed, and the certainty of evidence was judged using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) criteria. We categorized interventions into step rate, non-rearfoot footstrike, impact, ground contact time, and multiparameter subgroups.

Results: We included 19 trials (673 participants). Moderate-certainty evidence indicated step rate gait retraining increased step rate (SMD 1.03 [95% confidence interval {CI}: 0.63, 1.44]; number of trials (N): 4; I2: 0%) and reduced average vertical loading rate (SMD -0.57 [95% CI, -1.05 to -0.09], N: 3; I2: 0%). Low-certainty evidence indicated non-rearfoot footstrike retraining increased knee flexion at initial contact (SMD 0.74 [95% CI, 0.11 to 1.37]; N: 2; I2: 0%), but did not alter running economy (SMD 0.21 [95% CI, -1.11 to 1.52]; N: 3; I2: 19%).). Low-certainty evidence indicated multiparameter retraining did not alter running economy (SMD 0.32 [-0.39, 1.02]; N: 3; I2: 19%) or performance (SMD 0.14 [95% CI, -4.87 to 4.58]; N: 2; I2: 18%). Insufficient trials reported on pain outcomes. Two trials demonstrated reduced 1-year injury incidence following gait retraining.

Conclusions: Gait retraining interventions altered step rate and knee kinematics, lowered vertical loading rates, and did not affect running performance. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 2022;52(4):192-206. Epub 05 Feb 2022. doi:10.2519/jospt.2022.10585.

Keywords: biomechanics; gait analysis; gait retraining; injury prevention; rehabilitation; running.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomechanical Phenomena / physiology
  • Gait* / physiology
  • Humans
  • Kinetics
  • Pain
  • Running* / injuries