Title

Sex and Stride Length Impact Leg Stiffness and Ground Reaction Forces When Running with Body Borne Load

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

3-27-2019

Abstract

This study quantified leg stiffness and vGRF measures for males and females using different stride lengths to run with four body borne loads (20, 25, 30, and 35 kg). Thirty-six participants (20 males and 16 females) ran at 4.0 m/s using either: their preferred stride length (PSL), or strides 15% longer (LSL) and shorter (SSL) than PSL. Leg stiffness and vGRF measures, including peak vGRF, impact peak and loading rate, were submitted to a RM ANOVA to test the main effect and interactions of load, stride length,and sex. Leg stiffness was greater with the 30 kg (p = 0.016) and 35 kg (p < 0.001) compared to the 20 kg load, but decreased as stride lengthened from SSL to PSL (p < 0.001) and PSL to LSL (p< 0.001). Males exhibited greater leg stiffness than females with SSL (p = 0.029). Yet, males decreased leg stiffness with each increase in stride length (p < 0.001; p < 0.001), while females only decreased leg stiffness between PSL and LSL (p = 0.014). Peak vGRF was greater with the addition of body borne load (p < 0.001) and increase in stride length (p < 0.001). Both impact peak and loading rate were greater with the 30 kg (p = 0.034; p = 0.043) and 35 kg (p = 0.004; p = 0.015) compared to the 20 kg load, and increased as stride lengthened from SSL to PSL (p = 0.001; p = 0.004) and PSL to LSL (p < 0.001; p < 0.001). Running with body borne load may elevate injury risk by increasing leg stiffness and vGRFs. Injury risk may further increase when using longer strides to run with body borne load.

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