The Effect of Foot Strike Pattern on Achilles Tendon Load During Running
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- Almonroeder, T., Willson, J.D. & Kernozek, T.W. Ann Biomed Eng (2013) 41: 1758. doi:10.1007/s10439-013-0819-1
In this study we compared Achilles tendon loading parameters during barefoot running among females with different foot strike patterns using open-source computer muscle modeling software to provide dynamic simulations of running. Muscle forces of the gastrocnemius and soleus were estimated from experimental data collected in a motion capture laboratory during barefoot running for 11 runners utilizing a rearfoot strike (RFS) and 8 runners utilizing a non-RFS (NRFS) pattern. Our results show that peak Achilles tendon force occurred earlier in stance phase (p = 0.007), which contributed to a 15% increase in average Achilles tendon loading rate among participants adopting a NRFS pattern (p = 0.06). Stance time, step length, and the estimated number of steps per mile were similar between groups. However, runners with a NRFS pattern experienced 11% greater Achilles tendon impulse each step (p = 0.05) and nearly significantly greater Achilles tendon impulse per mile run (p = 0.06). This difference equates to an additional 47.7 body weights for each mile run with a NRFS pattern. Runners considering a NRFS pattern may want to account for these novel stressors and adapt training programs accordingly.