Does the Achilles Tendon Influence Foot Strike Patterns During an Exhaustive Run?

in Journal of Applied Biomechanics
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  • 1 Department of Human Movement Studies, University of Ostrava, Ostrava, Czech Republic
  • | 2 Department of Cybernetics and Biomedical Engineering, Technical University of Ostrava, Ostrava, Czech Republic
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The study purpose was to investigate whether there is a relationship between the Achilles tendon (AT) length, moment arm length, and the foot strike pattern (FP) change during an exhaustive run (EXR) in nonrearfoot FP runners. Twenty-eight runners were recruited and divided into 2 groups (highly trained/moderately trained) according to their weekly training volume. Participants underwent the graded exercise test, the EXR with biomechanical analysis at the beginning, and at the end, and the magnetic resonance imaging scan of the AT. Correlations were used to assess associations between FP change (value of the difference between end and beginning) and the selected performance and AT variables. AT length significantly correlated with the FP change according to foot strike angle (r = −.265, P = .049). The AT moment arm length significantly correlated with the FP change according to strike index during EXR (r = −.536, P = .003). Multiple regression showed that AT length was a significant predictor for the FP change according to foot strike angle if the second predictor was the graded exercise test duration and the third predictor was training group association. These results suggest that a runner’s training volume, along with a longer AT and AT moment arm appear to be associated with the ability to maintain a consistent FP during EXR by nonrearfoot FP runners.

Urbaczka (jan.urbaczka@osu.cz) is corresponding author.

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