Running Research and Literature
Abnormal hip mechanics during running are believes to be involved in the development of overuse injuries in runners. By using a full-length mirror to develop new motor skills runners were able to change their gait in the short term. This research shows that running retraining can lead to development of new motor patterns / motor skills and possibly prevent injury.
Female runners were put into two groups- one group was healthy, the other group had anterior knee pain (patellofemoral pain syndrome). Researchers found that the injured runners displayed greater hip adduction, hip internal rotation and tibial internal rotation then their healthy counterparts. Overall it appears that injured female runners displayed poor hip control. Rehabilitation programs which incorporate gait retraining could lead to reduced pain and increased function.
Female runners were put in two groups- one group was healthy, the other group had anterior knee pain (patellofemoral pain syndrome). Both groups were put through a single running analysis. Researchers found that female runners with knee pain did not change their mechanics over the course of a thirty-minute run and displayed great hip adduction and internal rotation measures- factors that can be identified and corrected with a proper running analysis.
An entire NCAA cross country team underwent gait analysis at the beginning of their season. Of the thirty-one runners on the team, twelve runners got injured that season. Peak external knee adduction (maximum point of knee collapse) and peak ankle eversion velocity (maximum speed of pronation) were greater in runners who sustained an injury compared to those who did not. Interestingly in this study they found no differences ground reaction forces (force of landing during foot strike) or hip kinematics. These factors may be worth identifying and trying to correct with gait retraining to prevent injury in distance running and can be properly identified with a running analysis.
Summary- Running retraining could be beneficial in treating the following overuse injuries: iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS); plantar fasciitis; Achilles, patellar, proximal hamstring and gluteal tendinopathy; and medial tibial stress syndrome (shin splints). There is a lot of evidence supporting the immediate biomechanical effects of running retraining interventions – which include evaluation of step rate and strike pattern manipulation, strategies to alter proximal kinematics and cues to reduce impact loading variables.
Twenty seven studies investigated the effect of biomechanical interventions on kinetic, kinematic and spatiotemporal variables and found that run re-training programs were effective in reducing some injury risk-factors via real time feedback by a therapist during the retraining session.
Running retraining, primarily focused on increasing cadence by 10% of a patient’s baseline was successful in reducing the patient’s knee pain. This increase in cadence, taught via gait retraining, continued to provide pain relief even at a three-month follow up visit.
Both mirror and 2D video feedback were effective for running-gait modification when used as part of a run retraining program.
This is a great article. Highly recommended read. There is a lot of research linking running mechanics and the development of overuse running injuries. Some specific mechanical errors linked with injury are increased hip adduction and increased vertical impact loading (harder landing).