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surfaces and running injuries

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  • surfaces and running injuries

    Thank you to all the responses regarding running surfaces and running injuries.

    The following is a simplified summary, along with the recommended bibliography.

    Apparently surface type and the effects on running mechanics is not a fully developed area in the literature. In terms of injury rates, most data is based on epidemiological study surveys - with mixed results. No conclusive evidence from surveys that one surface type is more harmful than another. Anecdotal comments suggest that harder surfaces are potentially more harmful, but the survey data from several investigations do not support this notion.

    However, biomechanic studies of surface types confirm greater GRF and joint forces with harder surfaces compared with softer surfaces, although the literature is not extensive. On the other hand, softer surfaces interfere with the normal timing and ROM values of the lower leg (as noted by Stergiou, Bates, James), particulary in terms of the timing of the subtalar joint and the knee joint. In fact, softer surfaces seem to facilitate greater frontal plane motion of the STJ with subsequent changes in transverse motion at the knee.

    The single common denominator with running related injuries is mileage and progression...gradual increases in mileage or gradual changes in terrain is the single preventative component to running related injuries.

    More work in the areas of foot:knee interactions on varying surface types is needed.

    Thank you again,
    Dan Cipriani

    Macera C.A., Pate R.R., Powell K.E., et al. (1989). Predicting lower-extremity injuries among habitual runners. Arch Intern Med, 149: 2565-2568.

    Kim W., Voloshin A. (1992). Dynamic loading during running on various surfaces. Human Movement Science, 11: 675-689.

    Van Mechelen W. (1992). Running injuries: a review of the epidemiological literature. Sports Medicine, 14:320-335.

    McClay I., Manal K. (1999). Three-dimensional kinetic analysis of running: significance of secondary planes of motion. Med Sci Sports Exer, 31: 1629-1637

    Stergiou N., Bates B.T. (1997). The relationship between subtalar and knee joint function as a possible mechanism for running injuries. Gait and Posture 6: 177-185.

    Stergiou N., Bates B.T., and James S.L. (1999). Asynchrony between subtalar and knee joint function during running. Med Sci Sports Exer, 31: 1645-1655.

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