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Original articles  EXERCISE PHYSIOLOGY AND BIOMECHANICS 

The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2005 December;45(4):476-82

Copyright © 2009 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Joint kinetics of the ankle and knee when running over obstacles

Hreljac A. 1, Stergiou N. 2, Scholten S. 2

1 California State University, Sacramento, CA, USA 2 University of Nebraska at Omaha, NE, USA


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Aim. When running over obstacles of increasing height, heelstrike (HS) runners switch to a forefoot (FF) landing pattern once a critical obstacle height is reached. The primary purpose of this study was to determine whether ankle or knee joint kinetic variables trigger the gait change from a HS to a FF striking pattern as obstacle height increases.
Methods. Ten subjects were filmed from the sagittal plane as they ran at their preferred running speed over a force platform during 6 obstacle height conditions ranging from 10% to 22.5% of standing height, as well as an additional baseline condition with no obstacle (0%). An inverse dynamics approach was utilized to calculate ankle and knee joint kinetics at each condition.
Results. Differences in joint kinetics did not occur until a height was reached at which the landing strategy changed from a HS to a FF landing pattern. Most differences occurred at the ankle joint, at which there was a greater maximum plantar flexor moment and a greater amount of energy absorbed when obstacles of sufficient height to require a FF landing pattern were negotiated.
Conclusion. Although no variables were found which met all of the criteria necessary to be considered a determinant of the gait transition, there were variables which distinguished between a HS and FF strike landing pattern as obstacle height increased.

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