Muscle–Tendon Behavior and Kinetics in Gastrocnemius Medialis During Forefoot and Rearfoot Strike Running

in Journal of Applied Biomechanics
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  • 1 Juntendo University
  • 2 Gifu Pref. Sports Science Center
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The present study aimed to clarify the effect of the foot strike pattern on muscle–tendon behavior and kinetics of the gastrocnemius medialis during treadmill running. Seven male participants ran with 2 different foot strike patterns (forefoot strike [FFS] and rearfoot strike [RFS]), with a step frequency of 2.50 Hz and at a speed of 2.38 m/s for 45 seconds on a treadmill with an instrumented force platform. The fascicle behavior of gastrocnemius medialis was captured using a B-mode ultrasound system with a sampling rate of 75 Hz, and the mechanical work done and power exerted by the fascicle and tendon were calculated. At the initial contact, the fascicle length was significantly shorter in the FFS than in the RFS (P = .001). However, the fascicular velocity did not differ between strike patterns. Higher tendon stretch and recoil were observed in the FFS (P < .001 and P = .017, respectively) compared with the RFS. The fascicle in the positive phase performed the same mechanical work in both the FFS and RFS; however, the fascicle in the negative phase performed significantly greater work in the FFS than in the RFS (P = .001). RFS may be advantageous for requiring less muscular work and elastic energy in the series elastic element compared with the FFS.

Takeshita, Noro, Hata, Fukunaga, and Yanagiya are with the Graduate School of Health and Sports Science, Juntendo University, Chiba, Japan. Takeshita, Noro, Hata, and Yanagiya are also with the Institute of Health and Sports Science & Medicine, Juntendo University, Chiba, Japan. Yoshida is with the Gifu Pref. Sports Science Center, Gifu, Japan.

Yanagiya (tyanagi@juntendo.ac.jp) is corresponding author.
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