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Clin Biomech (Bristol, Avon). 2008 Dec;23(10):1260-8. doi: 10.1016/j.clinbiomech.2008.07.011. Epub 2008 Sep 6.

Gender differences in walking and running on level and inclined surfaces.

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Department of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation, Physical Therapy Program, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, WI 53706-1532, USA.



Gender differences in kinematics during running have been speculated to be a contributing factor to the lower extremity injury rate disparity between men and women. Specifically, increased non-sagittal motion of the pelvis and hip has been implicated; however it is not known if this difference exists under a variety of locomotion conditions. The purpose of this study was to characterize gender differences in gait kinematics and muscle activities as a function of speed and surface incline and to determine if lower extremity anthropometrics contribute to these differences.


Whole body kinematics of 34 healthy volunteers were recorded along with electromyography of muscles on the right lower limb while each subject walked at 1.2, 1.5, and 1.8m/s and ran at 1.8, 2.7, and 3.6m/s with surface inclinations of 0%, 10%, and 15% grade. Joint angles and muscle activities were compared between genders across each speed-incline condition. Pelvis and lower extremity segment lengths were also measured and compared.


Females displayed greater peak hip internal rotation and adduction, as well as gluteus maximus activity for all conditions. Significant interactions (speed-gender, incline-gender) were present for the gluteus medius and vastus lateralis. Hip adduction during walking was moderately correlated to the ratio of bi-trochanteric width to leg length.


Our findings indicate females display greater non-sagittal motion. Future studies are needed to better define the relationship of these differences to injury risk.

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