Gait Asymmetry during 400 to 1000 m Track Running in Relation to Injury History

Ammann, Rahel; Wyss, Thomas (2016). Gait Asymmetry during 400 to 1000 m Track Running in Relation to Injury History (Unpublished). In: 8. SGS-Jahrestagung. Bern. 18. Februar 2016.

Introduction: Athletes and coaches assume that running asymmetry affects athletic performance. However, scientific research is sparse, and therefore, a value for normal or natural running asymmetry between legs or a threshold at which this asymmetry becomes problematic is still to be defined. Additionally, it is not known whether emerging fatigue would be mirrored by changes in running asymmetries during a complete training session. Hence, the purpose of this study was to investigate running asymmetries in healthy ambitious runners during track runs over various distances. Furthermore, to evaluate the effect of previous injury history on running asymmetry and whether asymmetry changes within the course of exhausting training sessions. Methods: Data of twelve male and female (35.7 ±10.1 years, 68.3 ±10.3 kg, 1.74 ±0.09 m) middle- to longdistance athletes (410 ±205 min weekly training practice) were obtained during eight interval training sessions on a synthetic track. Training contents were two times 10x400 m, 8x600 m, 7x800 m, and 6x1000 m, respectively, and were accomplished at subjective intensities of 80 - 100%. By means of the valid and reliable inertial measurement unit Axiamote (Axiamo, Biel, Switzerland; 1000 Hz), ground contact time (GCT) of every step was assessed (Ammann, Taube, & Wyss, in press). Running asymmetry was calculated as the difference in GCT between right and left foot divided by the GCT of the left foot. Injury history of the previous 24 months was inquired using an online questionnaire. Results: In total, 641 interval runs were performed with an average speed of 4.8 m·s-1 (ranging from 3.9 - 5.9 m·s-1) and GCT of 197.7 ms (ranging from 164.7 - 242.3 ms). Overall running asymmetries were 3.3 ±1.4%. Linear regression analysis revealed previous injury (p < .001), shorter running distance (p = .030) and shorter GCT (p = .001) as significant predictors of enlarged asymmetry (F3,636 = 20.279, p < .001, R2 = .087). Asymmetry was enlarged in runners with a previous injury compared to those without injury (3.6 ±1.6% vs. 3.0 ±1.2%; p < .001). In case of a previous injury, the GCT of the injured side was five times more likely to be prolonged than the GCT of the non-injured side. Shorter running distance correlated with faster speed and shorter GCT and led to enlarged running asymmetries (r = -.175, p < .001). No asymmetry changes within interval training sessions were demonstrated, nor within groups with and without a previous injury. Discussion: Ambitious runners showed low running asymmetries (3.3 ±1.4%) during intensive interval runs over different distances, regardless of a previously incurred injury. This finding confirms and extends the previously reported 3.5% running asymmetry in distance runners (Kong & de Heer, 2008). Yet, as that study was conducted on treadmill with only six gait cycles at each speed (ranging from 3.5 - 5.4 m·s-1), running asymmetry in the field over longer periods was not analyzed. In the present study, athletes with a previous injury had enlarged asymmetries, but still low values. Furthermore, asymmetry might be more of an issue during faster speeds, as asymmetry was increased in the shorter interval runs. Emerging fatigue within training sessions did not induce progression in running asymmetries in either group. However, as individual asymmetry is masked when averaging group data, analyses should be kept individualized, especially, in the high performance section. By means of the device Axiamote, regular monitoring of GCT and asymmetries is feasible for diagnostic and prognostic purposes.

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Conference or Workshop Item (Abstract)


Swiss Federal Institute of Sports Magglingen SFISM > EHSM - Lehre und Sportpädagogik > Evaluation
Swiss Federal Institute of Sports Magglingen SFISM > EHSM - Lehre und Sportpädagogik > Monitoring


Ammann, Rahel and
Wyss, Thomas




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Date Deposited:

09 Mar 2022 11:55

Last Modified:

09 Mar 2022 11:55

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Uncontrolled Keywords:

Sport Gait Asymmetry Injury History Evaluation Monitoring


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