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Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2020 Jan 3. doi: 10.1111/sms.13624. [Epub ahead of print]

A hierarchical cluster analysis to determine whether injured runners exhibit similar kinematic gait patterns.

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Faculty of Information Technology, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland.
Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Faculty of Nursing, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Running Injury Clinic, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.


Previous studies have suggested that runners can be subgrouped based on homogeneous gait patterns, however, no previous study has assessed the presence of such subgroups in a population of individuals across a wide variety of injuries. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to assess whether distinct subgroups with homogeneous running patterns can be identified among a large group of injured and healthy runners and whether identified subgroups are associated with specific injury location. Three-dimensional kinematic data from 291 injured and healthy runners, representing both sexes and a wide range of ages (10-66 years) was clustered using hierarchical cluster analysis. Cluster analysis revealed five distinct subgroups from the data. Kinematic differences between the subgroups were compared using one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA). Against our hypothesis, runners with the same injury types did not cluster together, but the distribution of different injuries within subgroups was similar across the entire sample. These results suggest that homogeneous gait patterns exist independent of injury location and that it is important to consider these underlying patterns when planning injury prevention or rehabilitation strategies.


Injury; Kinematics; Running; Unsupervised machine learning


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