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The effect of speed on Achilles tendon forces and patellofemoral joint stresses in high‐performing endurance runners

Chelsea Starbuck Orcid Logo, Christopher Bramah Orcid Logo, Lee Herrington Orcid Logo, Richard Jones Orcid Logo

Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, Volume: 31, Issue: 8, Pages: 1657 - 1665

Swansea University Author: Chelsea Starbuck Orcid Logo

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DOI (Published version): 10.1111/sms.13972

Abstract

Achilles tendinopathy and patellofemoral pain are common running injuries associated with increased Achilles tendon (AT) forces and patellofemoral joint (PFJ) stresses. This study examined AT forces and PFJ stresses at different running speeds in high-performing endurance runners. Twenty runners ran...

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Published in: Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports
ISSN: 0905-7188 1600-0838
Published: Wiley 2021
Online Access: Check full text

URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa60581
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Abstract: Achilles tendinopathy and patellofemoral pain are common running injuries associated with increased Achilles tendon (AT) forces and patellofemoral joint (PFJ) stresses. This study examined AT forces and PFJ stresses at different running speeds in high-performing endurance runners. Twenty runners ran overground at four running speeds (3.3, 3.9, 4.8, and 5.6 m/s). AT forces and PFJ stresses were estimated from kinematic and kinetic data. Repeated measures ANOVA with partial eta squared effect sizes was conducted to assess differences between running speeds. Increased peak AT forces (19.5%; p < 0.001) and loading rates (57.3%; p < 0.001) from 3.3 m/s to 5.6 m/s were observed. Cumulative AT loading was greater in the faster speeds compared to the slower speeds. Faster running speeds resulted in increased peak plantar flexor moments, increased peak plantar flexion angles, and a more flexed knee and an anterior center of pressure position at touchdown. Peak PFJ stress was lower in the slowest speed (3.3 m/s) compared to the faster running speeds (3.9–5.6 m/s; p = 0.005). PFJ stress loading rate significantly increased (43.6%; p < 0.001). Greater AT loading observed could be associated with strategies such as increased plantar flexor moments and altered lower body position at touchdown which are commonly employed to generate greater ground contact forces. Greater AT and PFJ loading rates were likely due to shorter ground contact times and therefore less time available to reach the peak. Running at faster speeds could increase the risk of developing Achilles tendinopathy and patellofemoral pain or limit recovery from these injuries without sufficient recovery.
Keywords: Achilles tendon, high-performance running, patellofemoral joint, running speed
College: College of Engineering
Funders: This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors
Issue: 8
Start Page: 1657
End Page: 1665