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The effect of direction and fatigue while running on an athletic track on kinematic inter-limb difference

Hélant Muller, C. (2020) The effect of direction and fatigue while running on an athletic track on kinematic inter-limb difference.

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Abstract:Running is a popular sport with little need of equipment, however running also correlates with a lot of injuries in the lower limbs. Running technique can be an important factor in injuries. To improve running technique, it is important to receive appropriate feedback. Symmetry between the lower limbs movements is particularly important. Differences between the left and right lower limb are found during measurements outside standardized and controlled environments. These differences were found during a marathon, but also during sprinting in a curve (anti-clockwise). However, it is not known yet if there are inter-limb differences during distance running on an athletic track with curves. Furthermore, the mutual relation between fatigue and inter-limb difference is not clear yet. The aim of this study was to examine whether the running direction (straight, clockwise (CW) or anti-clockwise (ACW)) has an effect on the inter-limb difference in kinematics. Furthermore, the effect of fatigue and leg dominance on the inter-limb difference was investigated. An inter-limb difference in straight, CW and ACW running was expected. In addition to this, it was assumed that the outer leg had a larger step length and a shorter ground contact time than the inner leg, which results in larger inter-limb differences in the curves in comparison with the straight direction. Twelve trained runners performed a 4 km, non-fatigued run (i.e. performed at a speed bearable for the subjects) followed by a fatiguing protocol, where each subject ran between 4 and 12 times 100 m series with an increasing velocity. Subsequently, subjects ran a 1.2 km, fatigued run, on an athletic track. In order to collect data for both CW and ACW curves, the subjects switched running direction once during the non-fatigued run and once during the fatigued run. Inertial Measurement Units (IMUs) were used to calculate joint kinematics and spatiotemporal parameters. The inter-limb difference values (left side - right side) and the symmetry angle values were calculated to find inter-limb differences in the kinematic and spatiotemporal parameters. The results showed that during the fatigued run, in the sagittal plane, there was a significantly higher inter-limb difference value in CW direction for knee at initial contact (IC) and midstance (MS), hip at IC and midswing (MSW) and ankle at MS. In the frontal plane, there was a significantly higher inter-limb difference value in the hip at IC for the CW direction for both the non-fatigued and the fatigued run. Due to fatigue, the knee at IC showed a significantly increased inter-limb difference value in the CW direction. Regarding symmetry angles, during the CW direction there was a significantly higher value in the knee at MS. Due to fatigue, a higher symmetry angle was found for the ankle at MS in the sagittal plane. In conclusion, an effect of running direction is shown on the inter-limb difference. In particular, the CW direction showed the highest inter-limb differences. Furthermore, inter-limb differences increased in kinematic parameters in all directions due to fatigue and the increase was the highest for the CW direction. Lastly, no conclusions could be drawn if there is an effect of leg dominance.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:TNW: Science and Technology
Subject:30 exact sciences in general, 42 biology, 44 medicine, 50 technical science in general
Programme:Biomedical Engineering MSc (66226)
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