Protocol for evaluating the effects of a therapeutic foot exercise program on injury incidence, foot functionality and biomechanics in long-distance runners: a randomized controlled trial.
ABSTRACT: Overall performance, particularly in a very popular sports activity such as running, is typically influenced by the status of the musculoskeletal system and the level of training and conditioning of the biological structures. Any change in the musculoskeletal system's biomechanics, especially in the feet and ankles, will strongly influence the biomechanics of runners, possibly predisposing them to injuries. A thorough understanding of the effects of a therapeutic approach focused on feet biomechanics, on strength and functionality of lower limb muscles will contribute to the adoption of more effective therapeutic and preventive strategies for runners.A randomized, prospective controlled and parallel trial with blind assessment is designed to study the effects of a "ground-up" therapeutic approach focused on the foot-ankle complex as it relates to the incidence of running-related injuries in the lower limbs. One hundred and eleven (111) healthy long-distance runners will be randomly assigned to either a control (CG) or intervention (IG) group. IG runners will participate in a therapeutic exercise protocol for the foot-ankle for 8 weeks, with 1 directly supervised session and 3 remotely supervised sessions per week. After the 8-week period, IG runners will keep exercising for the remaining 10 months of the study, supervised only by web-enabled software three times a week. At baseline, 2 months, 4 months and 12 months, all runners will be assessed for running-related injuries (primary outcome), time for the occurrence of the first injury, foot health and functionality, muscle trophism, intrinsic foot muscle strength, dynamic foot arch strain and lower-limb biomechanics during walking and running (secondary outcomes).This is the first randomized clinical trial protocol to assess the effect of an exercise protocol that was designed specifically for the foot-and-ankle complex on running-related injuries to the lower limbs of long-distance runners. We intend to show that the proposed protocol is an innovative and effective approach to decreasing the incidence of injuries. We also expect a lengthening in the time of occurrence of the first injury, an improvement in foot function, an increase in foot muscle mass and strength and beneficial biomechanical changes while running and walking after a year of exercising.Clinicaltrials.gov Identifier NCT02306148 (November 28, 2014) under the name "Effects of Foot Strengthening on the Prevalence of Injuries in Long Distance Runners". Committee of Ethics in Research of the School of Medicine of the University of Sao Paulo (18/03/2015, Protocol # 031/15).
Project description:Physical fatigue and pronated feet constitute two risk factors for running-related lower limb injuries. Accordingly, different running shoe companies designed anti-pronation shoes with medial support to limit over pronation in runners. However, there is little evidence on the effectiveness and clinical relevance of anti-pronation shoes. This study examined lower limb kinematics and kinetics in young female runners with pronated feet during running with anti-pronation versus regular (neutral) running shoes in unfatigued and fatigued condition. Twenty-six female runners aged 24.1±5.6 years with pronated feet volunteered to participate in this study. Kinetic (3D Kistler force plate) and kinematic analyses (Vicon motion analysis system) were conducted to record participants' ground reaction forces and joint kinematics when running with anti-pronation compared with neutral running shoes. Physical fatigue was induced through an individualized submaximal running protocol on a motorized treadmill using rate of perceived exertion and heart rate monitoring. The statistical analyses indicated significant main effects of "footwear" for peak ankle inversion, peak ankle eversion, and peak hip internal rotation angles (p<0.03; d = 0.46-0.95). Pair-wise comparisons revealed a significantly greater peak ankle inversion angle (p<0.03; d = 0.95; 2.70°) and smaller peak eversion angle (p<0.03; d = 0.46; 2.53°) when running with anti-pronation shoes compared with neutral shoes. For kinetic data, significant main effects of "footwear" were found for peak ankle dorsiflexor moment, peak knee extensor moment, peak hip flexor moment, peak hip extensor moment, peak hip abductor moment, and peak hip internal rotator moment (p<0.02; d = 1.00-1.79). For peak positive hip power in sagittal and frontal planes and peak negative hip power in horizontal plane, we observed significant main effects of "footwear" (p<0.03; d = 0.92-1.06). Pairwise comparisons revealed that peak positive hip power in sagittal plane (p<0.03; d = 0.98; 2.39 w/kg), peak positive hip power in frontal plane (p = 0.014; d = 1.06; 0.54 w/kg), and peak negative hip power in horizontal plane (p<0.03; d = 0.92; 0.43 w/kg) were greater with anti-pronation shoes. Furthermore, the statistical analyses indicated significant main effects of "Fatigue" for peak ankle inversion, peak ankle eversion, and peak knee external rotation angles. Pair-wise comparisons revealed a fatigue-induced decrease in peak ankle inversion angle (p<0.01; d = 1.23; 2.69°) and a fatigue-induced increase in peak knee external rotation angle (p<0.05; d = 0.83; 5.40°). In addition, a fatigue-related increase was found for peak ankle eversion (p<0.01; d = 1.24; 2.67°). For kinetic data, we observed a significant main effect of "Fatigue" for knee flexor moment, knee internal rotator moment, and hip extensor moment (p<0.05; d = 0.83-1.01). The statistical analyses indicated significant a main effect of "Fatigue" for peak negative ankle power in sagittal plane (p<0.01; d = 1.25). Finally, we could not detect any significant footwear by fatigue interaction effects for all measures of joint kinetics and kinematics. Running in anti-pronation compared with neutral running shoes produced lower peak moments and powers in lower limb joints and better control in rear foot eversion. Physical fatigue increased peak moments and powers in lower limb joints irrespective of the type of footwear.
Project description:This study presents an investigation of the changes in foot posture, joint kinematics, joint moments and joint contact forces in the lower extremity following a 5 k treadmill run. A relationship between knee and ankle joint loading and foot posture index (FPI) is developed. Twenty recreational male heel-strike runners participated in this study. All participants had a history of running exercise and were free from lower extremity injuries and foot deformities. Foot posture was assessed from a six-item FPI to quantitatively classify high supination to high pronation foot poses. The FPI is scored using a combination of observations and foot palpations. The three-dimensional marker trajectories, ground reaction force and surface electromyography (EMG) were recorded at pre and post-gait sessions conducted over-ground and 5 k running was conducted on a treadmill. Joint kinematics, joint moments and joint contact forces were computed in OpenSim. Simulated EMG activations were compared against experimental EMG to validate the model. A paired sample t-test was conducted using a 1D statistical parametric mapping method computed temporally. Hip joint moments and contact forces increased during initial foot contact following 5 k running. Knee abduction moment and superior-inferior knee contact force increased, whereas the knee extension moment decreased. Ankle plantarflexion moment and ankle contact forces increased during stance. FPI was found to be moderately correlated with peak knee and ankle moments. Recreational male runners presented increased static foot pronation after 5 k treadmill running. These findings suggest that following mid distance running foot pronation may be an early indicator of increased lower limb joint loading. Furthermore, the FPI may be used to quantify the changes in knee and ankle joint moments.
Project description:Running practice could generate musculoskeletal adaptations that modify the body mechanics and generate different biomechanical patterns for individuals with distinct levels of experience. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate whether foot-ankle kinetic and kinematic patterns can be used to discriminate different levels of experience in running practice of recreational runners using a machine learning approach. Seventy-eight long-distance runners (40.7 ± 7.0 years) were classified into less experienced (n = 24), moderately experienced (n = 23), or experienced (n = 31) runners using a fuzzy classification system, based on training frequency, volume, competitions and practice time. Three-dimensional kinematics of the foot-ankle and ground reaction forces (GRF) were acquired while the subjects ran on an instrumented treadmill at a self-selected speed (9.5-10.5 km/h). The foot-ankle kinematic and kinetic time series underwent a principal component analysis for data reduction, and combined with the discrete GRF variables to serve as inputs in a support vector machine (SVM), to determine if the groups could be distinguished between them in a one-vs.-all approach. The SVM models successfully classified all experience groups with significant crossvalidated accuracy rates and strong to very strong Matthew's correlation coefficients, based on features from the input data. Overall, foot mechanics was different according to running experience level. The main distinguishing kinematic factors for the less experienced group were a greater dorsiflexion of the first metatarsophalangeal joint and a larger plantarflexion angles between the calcaneus and metatarsals, whereas the experienced runners displayed the opposite pattern for the same joints. As for the moderately experienced runners, although they were successfully classified, they did not present a visually identifiable running pattern, and seem to be an intermediate group between the less and more experienced runners. The results of this study have the potential to assist the development of training programs targeting improvement in performance and rehabilitation protocols for preventing injuries.
Project description:Many studies exist on the incidence and related risk factors of running injuries, such as those obtained during marathons. However, in gorge-terrain marathons, an insufficient number of reports exist in the relevant literature. Therefore, this study aimed to explore the incidence of musculoskeletal injuries occurring in participants in the 2013 to 2018 Taroko Gorge Marathons in Taiwan and the distribution of running injuries and related influencing factors. A total of 718 runners who entered the physiotherapy station presented with records of treatment and injuries and filled out a running-related injury and self-training questionnaire for further statistical analysis. The association between risk factors and injury were evaluated by logistic regression. The injured areas on the lower extremities after the gorge marathon were as follows: 28% in the knees, 20% in the posterior calves, 13% in the thighs, 10% in the ankles, and 8% in the feet. The analysis of injury-related risk factors showed that male athletes demonstrated a higher risk of thigh injury than female athletes (OR = 2.42, <i>p</i> = 0.002). Underweight runners exhibited a higher risk of thigh injury (OR = 3.35, <i>p</i> = 0.006). We conclude that in the gorge marathon the rates of knee, calf, thigh, and foot injuries are significantly increased. Medical professionals, coaches, and runners may use the findings of this study to reduce the potential risk of running injuries in marathons.
Project description:BACKGROUND/AIM:This randomised controlled trial investigated if the usage of running shoes with a motion control system modifies injury risk in regular leisure-time runners compared to standard shoes, and if this influence depends on foot morphology. METHODS:Recreational runners (n=372) were given either the motion control or the standard version of a regular running shoe model and were followed up for 6 months regarding running activity and injury. Foot morphology was analysed using the Foot Posture Index method. Cox regression analyses were used to compare injury risk between the two groups, based on HRs and their 95% CIs, controlling for potential confounders. Stratified analyses were conducted to evaluate the effect of motion control system in runners with supinated, neutral and pronated feet. RESULTS:The overall injury risk was lower among the participants who had received motion control shoes (HR=0.55; 95% CI 0.36 to 0.85) compared to those receiving standard shoes. This positive effect was only observed in the stratum of runners with pronated feet (n=94; HR=0.34; 95% CI 0.13 to 0.84); there was no difference in runners with neutral (n=218; HR=0.78; 95% CI 0.44 to 1.37) or supinated feet (n=60; HR=0.59; 95% CI 0.20 to 1.73). Runners with pronated feet using standard shoes had a higher injury risk compared to those with neutral feet (HR=1.80; 95% CI 1.01 to 3.22). CONCLUSIONS:The overall injury risk was lower in participants who had received motion control shoes. Based on secondary analysis, those with pronated feet may benefit most from this shoe type.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The goals of this study were (1) to present the set of data evaluating running biomechanics (kinematics and kinetics), including data on running habits, demographics, and levels of muscle strength and flexibility made available at Figshare (DOI: 10.6084/m9.figshare.4543435); and (2) to examine the effect of running speed on selected gait-biomechanics variables related to both running injuries and running economy. METHODS:The lower-extremity kinematics and kinetics data of 28 regular runners were collected using a three-dimensional (3D) motion-capture system and an instrumented treadmill while the subjects ran at 2.5 m/s, 3.5 m/s, and 4.5 m/s wearing standard neutral shoes. RESULTS:A dataset comprising raw and processed kinematics and kinetics signals pertaining to this experiment is available in various file formats. In addition, a file of metadata, including demographics, running characteristics, foot-strike patterns, and muscle strength and flexibility measurements is provided. Overall, there was an effect of running speed on most of the gait-biomechanics variables selected for this study. However, the foot-strike patterns were not affected by running speed. DISCUSSION:Several applications of this dataset can be anticipated, including testing new methods of data reduction and variable selection; for educational purposes; and answering specific research questions. This last application was exemplified in the study's second objective.
Project description:The presence of fatigue has been shown to modify running biomechanics. Overall in terms of gender, women are at lower risk than men for sustaining running-related injuries, although it depends on the factors taken into account. One possible reason for these differences in the injury rate and location might be the dissimilar running patterns between men and women. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of fatigue and gender on the kinematic and ground reaction forces (GRF) parameters in recreational runners. Fifty-seven participants (28 males and 29 females) had kinematic and GRF variables measured while running at speed of 3.3 m s-1 before and after a fatigue test protocol. The fatigue protocol included (1) a running Course-Navette test, (2) running up and down a flight of stairs for 5 min, and (3) performance of alternating jumps on a step (five sets of 1 minute each with 30 resting seconds between the sets). Fatigue decreased dorsiflexion (14.24 ± 4.98° in pre-fatigue and 12.65 ± 6.21° in fatigue condition, p < 0.05) at foot strike phase in females, and plantar flexion (-19.23 ± 4.12° in pre-fatigue and -18.26 ± 5.31° in fatigue condition, p < 0.05) at toe-off phase in males. These changes led to a decreased loading rate (88.14 ± 25.82 BW/s in pre-fatigue and 83.97 ± 18.83 BW/s in fatigue condition, p < 0.05) and the impact peak in females (1.95 ± 0.31 BW in pre-fatigue and 1.90 ± 0.31 BW in fatigue condition, p < 0.05), and higher peak propulsive forces in males (-0.26 ± 0.04 BW in pre-fatigue and -0.27 ± 0.05 BW in fatigue condition, p < 0.05) in the fatigue condition. It seems that better responses to impact under a fatigue condition are observed among women. Further studies should confirm whether these changes represent a strategy to optimize shock attenuation, prevent running injuries and improve running economy.
Project description:Altered biomechanics from repetitive microtrauma, such as long practice hours in en pointe (tip of the toes) or demi pointe (balls of the feet) predispose ballet dancers to a multitude of musculoskeletal pathologies particularly in the lower extremities. Both ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are radiation-sparing modalities which can be used to confidently evaluate these injuries, with ultrasound (US) offering the added utility of therapeutic intervention at the same time in experienced hands.The purposes of this paper were: (1) to illustrate the US and MRI features of lower extremity injury patterns in ballet dancers, focusing on pathologies commonly encountered at a single orthopedic hospital; (2) to present complementary roles of both ultrasound and MRI in the evaluation of these injuries whenever possible; (3) to review and present our institutional approach towards therapeutic ultrasound-guided interventions by presenting explicit cases.Online searches were performed using the search criteria of "ballet biomechanics" and "ballet injuries." The results were then further narrowed down by limiting articles published in the past 15 years, modality (US and MRI), anatomical region (foot and ankle, hip and knee) and to major radiology, orthopedics, and sports medicine journals.Performing ballet poses major stress to lower extremities and predisposes dancer to several musculoskeletal injuries. These can be adequately evaluated by both US and MRI. US is useful for evaluating superficial structures such as soft tissues, tendons, and ligaments, particularly in the foot and ankle. MRI provides superior resolution of deeper structures such as joints, bone marrow, and cartilage. In addition, US can be used as a therapeutic tool for providing quick symptomatic improvement in these athletes for who "time is money".Performing ballet may cause major stress to the lower extremities, predominantly affecting the foot and ankle, followed by the knee and hip. US and MRI play complementary roles in evaluating various orthopedic conditions in ballet dancers, with US allowing for dynamic evaluation and guidance for interventions.
Project description:In the running community, a forefoot strike (FFS) pattern is increasingly preferred compared with a rearfoot strike (RFS) pattern. However, it has not been fully understood which strike pattern may better reduce adverse joint forces within the different joints of the lower extremity.To analyze the 3-dimensional (3D) stress pattern in the ankle, knee, and hip joint in runners with either a FFS or RFS pattern.Descriptive laboratory study.In 22 runners (11 habitual rearfoot strikers, 11 habitual forefoot strikers), RFS and FFS patterns were compared at 3.0 m/s (6.7 mph) on a treadmill with integrated force plates and a 3D motion capture analysis system. This combined analysis allowed characterization of the 3D biomechanical forces differentiated for the ankle, knee, and hip joint. The maximum peak force (MPF) and maximum loading rate (LR) were determined in their 3 ordinal components: vertical, anterior-posterior (AP), and medial-lateral (ML).For both strike patterns, the vertical components of the MPF and LR were significantly greater than their AP or ML components. In the vertical axis, FFS was generally associated with a greater MPF but significantly lower LR in all 3 joints. The AP components of MPF and LR were significantly lower for FFS in the knee joint but significantly greater in the ankle and hip joints. The ML components of MPF and LR tended to be greater for FFS but mostly did not reach a level of significance.FFS and RFS were associated with different 3D stress patterns in the ankle, knee, and hip joint, although there was no global advantage of one strike pattern over the other. The multimodal individual assessment for the different anatomic regions demonstrated that FFS seems favorable for patients with unstable knee joints in the AP axis and RFS may be recommended for runners with unstable ankle joints.Different strike patterns show different 3D stress in joints of the lower extremity. Due to either rehabilitation after injuries or training in running sports, rearfoot or forefoot running should be preferred to prevent further damage or injuries caused by inadequate biomechanical load. Runners with a history of knee joint injuries may benefit from FFS whereas RFS may be favorable for runners with a history of ankle joint injuries.
Project description:Ultramarathon runners are exposed to a high number of impact shocks and to severe neuromuscular fatigue. Runners may manage mechanical stress and muscle fatigue by changing their running kinematics. Our purposes were to study (i) the effects of a 110-km mountain ultramarathon (MUM) on tibial shock acceleration and lower limb kinematics, and (ii) whether kinematic changes are modulated according to the severity of neuromuscular fatigue. Twenty-three runners participated in the study. Pre- and post-MUM, neuromuscular tests were performed to assess knee extensor (KE) and plantar flexor (PF) central and peripheral fatigue, and a treadmill running bouts was completed during which step frequency, peak acceleration, median frequency and impact frequency content were measured from tibial acceleration, as well as foot-to-treadmill, tibia-to-treadmill, and ankle flexion angles at initial contact, and ankle range of motion using video analysis. Large neuromuscular fatigue, including peripheral changes and deficits in voluntary activation, was observed in KE and PF. MVC decrements of ~35% for KE and of ~28% for PF were noted. Among biomechanical variables, step frequency increased by ~2.7% and the ankle range of motion decreased by ~4.1% post-MUM. Runners adopting a non rearfoot strike pre-MUM adopted a less plantarflexed foot strike pattern post-MUM while those adopting a rearfoot strike pre-MUM tended to adopt a less dorsiflexed foot strike pattern post-MUM. Positive correlations were observed between percent changes in peripheral PF fatigue and the ankle range of motion. Peripheral PF fatigue was also significantly correlated to both percent changes in step frequency and the ankle angle at contact. This study suggests that in a fatigued state, ultratrail runners use compensatory/protective adjustments leading to a flatter foot landing and this is done in a fatigue dose-dependent manner. This strategy may aim at minimizing the overall load applied to the musculoskeletal system, including impact shock and muscle stretch.