Distance running stride-to-stride variability for sagittal plane joint angles

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Recent research indicates that distance running stride-to-stride variability (SSV) is related to performance and injury. Previous studies have primarily focused on stride characteristics (stride length and time). We assessed SSV for sagittal plane joint angles with the primary purpose of testing for significant differences among the lower body joints. The secondary purpose was to determine if strong correlations exist among joint SSV measures. Thirty recreational adult runners participated in the study (8 females, 22 males, 39 ± 10 years; 53.1 ± 25.7 km/week). A 6-camera motion capture system (200 Hz) collected kinematic data during treadmill running at a preferred pace. A 2 by 3 repeated measures factorial ANOVA (phase—stance, swing; joint—hip, knee, ankle) was run (p = 0.05). There was a significant interaction effect (p < 0.001) and post hoc analysis revealed knee swing to be the most variable condition by far. For all three joints, there were strong correlations between stance and swing SSV (r = 0.80 to r = 0.88) and correlations among the joints were moderate to strong (r = 0.55 to 0.86). This study helps to better understand the joints/phases that contribute most to variability in the overall stride. Also, the strong correlations suggest that runners appear to have an overall SSV pattern that is similar across joints/phases.

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Sports Biomechanics

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