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Am J Sports Med. 2018 Oct;46(12):3023-3031. doi: 10.1177/0363546518793657. Epub 2018 Sep 7.

Is There a Pathological Gait Associated With Common Soft Tissue Running Injuries?

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School of Health Sciences, University of Salford, Salford, UK.



Previous research has demonstrated clear associations between specific running injuries and patterns of lower limb kinematics. However, there has been minimal research investigating whether the same kinematic patterns could underlie multiple different soft tissue running injuries. If they do, such kinematic patterns could be considered global contributors to running injuries.


Injured runners will demonstrate differences in running kinematics when compared with injury-free controls. These kinematic patterns will be consistent among injured subgroups.


Controlled laboratory study.


The authors studied 72 injured runners and 36 healthy controls. The injured group contained 4 subgroups of runners with either patellofemoral pain, iliotibial band syndrome, medial tibial stress syndrome, or Achilles tendinopathy (n = 18 each). Three-dimensional running kinematics were compared between injured and healthy runners and then between the 4 injured subgroups. A logistic regression model was used to determine which parameters could be used to identify injured runners.


The injured runners demonstrated greater contralateral pelvic drop (CPD) and forward trunk lean at midstance and a more extended knee and dorsiflexed ankle at initial contact. The subgroup analysis of variance found that these kinematic patterns were consistent across each of the 4 injured subgroups. CPD was found to be the most important variable predicting the classification of participants as healthy or injured. Importantly, for every 1° increase in pelvic drop, there was an 80% increase in the odds of being classified as injured.


This study identified a number of global kinematic contributors to common running injuries. In particular, we found injured runners to run with greater peak CPD and trunk forward lean as well as an extended knee and dorsiflexed ankle at initial contact. CPD appears to be the variable most strongly associated with common running-related injuries.


The identified kinematic patterns may prove beneficial for clinicians when assessing for biomechanical contributors to running injuries.


gait; injury; kinematics; running


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