May 2011

Kinetic testing variables fail to predict which novice runners will stay healthy

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Kinetic variables, including impact peaks, do not predict risk of running related lower extremity injury in novice runners, according to research from the Netherlands.

Investigators from University Medical Center Groningen prospectively analyzed kinetics in 181 novice recreational runners (mean BMI of 25) as they ran on an instrumented treadmill during a testing session, prior to initiating a nine-week running training program. The training required subjects to run three times per week, gradually increasing their mileage over time.

Running related injuries, defined as three consecutive training sessions of pain resulting in an inability to run, were self-reported by 37 subjects. Injured subjects did not differ significantly from uninjured subjects with regard to any kinetic variables, including impact peak force, active peak force, or loading rate.

The findings, presented in Monaco in April, contrast with those of a study presented in August at the American Society of Biomechanics meeting, in which baseline kinetics of experienced female runners differed between those who went on to sustain an injury and those who did not (see “Impacts spell injury,” September, page 11). Baseline levels of peak tibial shock, vertical impact peak, and vertical average load rate were all significantly higher in the runners who were subsequently injured.

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