The purpose of this study was to compare knee and hip joint kinematics previously associated with anterior knee pain and metabolic cost among conditions including treadmill running (TR), standard elliptical (SE), and lateral elliptical (LE) in healthy runners. Joint kinematics and metabolic parameters of 16 runners were collected during all 3 modalities using motion capture and a metabolic system, respectively. Sagittal knee range of motion (ROM) was greater in LE (P < .001) and SE (P < .001) compared with TR. Frontal and transverse plane hip ROM were greater in LE compared with SE (P < .001) and TR (P < .001). Contralateral pelvic drop ROM was smaller in SE compared with TR (P = .002) and LE (P = .005). Similar oxygen consumption was found during LE and TR (P = .39), but LE (P < .001) and TR (P < .001) required greater oxygen consumption than SE. Although LE yields similar metabolic cost to TR and produces hip kinematics that may help strengthen hip abductors, greater knee flexion and abduction during LE may increase symptoms in runners with anterior knee pain. The findings suggest that research on the implications of elliptical exercise for injured runners is needed.
Stephanie Chester, Daniel A. Melcher, Shelby A. Peel, Richard J. Bloomer, and Max R. Paquette are with Health & Sport Sciences, University of Memphis, Memphis, TN. Audrey Zucker-Levin is with Physical Therapy, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN.