Biomechanical Outcomes Due to Impact Loading in Runners While Looking Sideways

in Journal of Applied Biomechanics
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A stable gaze is necessary to optimize visual conditions during running. Head accelerations generally remain stable when looking in front; however, it is unclear if this response is similar when the head is turned sideways, and whether other adaptive strategies are present to maintain this stability. The purpose of this study, therefore, was to examine whether runners maintained stable head accelerations while gazing at fixed targets in front and to their sides. The authors collected biomechanical data from 13 runners as they directed their gaze to visual targets located in front, 45°, and 90° to the sides at a random sequence. Vertical head and tibial accelerations were the primary outcome measures, while vertical loading rate, footstrike angle, contact time, stride length, and stride rate were the secondary measures. A reduction in vertical head accelerations was found in the rightmost direction (P = .04), while an increase in vertical tibial accelerations was found on the same direction (P = .02). No other significant differences were observed for the other variables. The results of this study suggest that the tibia accommodated the increased shock to maintain head stability.

The authors are with Gait & Motion Analysis Laboratory, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong.

Mangubat (anamaria.mangubat@gmail.com) is corresponding author.
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