Efficacy of an Audio-Based Biofeedback Intervention to Modify Running Gait in Female Runners

in Journal of Sport Rehabilitation

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Jacqueline A. AugustineProehl Exercise Physiology Laboratory, Kinesiology Department, SUNY Cortland, Cortland, NY, USA

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Sarah RothsteinProehl Exercise Physiology Laboratory, Kinesiology Department, SUNY Cortland, Cortland, NY, USA

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Larissa TrueDepartment of Kinesiology, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM, USA

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Kevin D. DamesProehl Exercise Physiology Laboratory, Kinesiology Department, SUNY Cortland, Cortland, NY, USA
Biomechanics Laboratory, Kinesiology Department, SUNY Cortland, Cortland, NY, USA

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Context: A variety of gait retraining interventions are available to modify running mechanics associated with musculoskeletal injuries. These often require specialized equipment and/or personnel to prompt the runner toward specific strategies. Objective: To determine whether instructing female recreational runners to “run quietly” could decrease impact force characteristics. Design: Cohort. Setting: Research laboratory. Participants: Fifteen healthy female recreational runners (24 [7] y) volunteered. Interventions: Baseline testing occurred on day 1 (baseline), a posttraining assessment occurred on day 2 (training), and a final assessment occurred 1 week after training on day 3 (follow-up). A smartphone decibel measuring app was used to provide biofeedback on the decibel level of foot strike on day 2 (training). Main Outcomes: Peak vertical force, impact transient, peak and average vertical loading rate, ground contact time, and running economy were collected on each day and compared via repeated-measures analyses of variance. Results: Vertical ground reaction force was lower at follow-up (2.30 bodyweights [BW]) versus baseline (2.39 BW, P = .023) and training (2.34 BW, P = .047). Maximal loading rate decreased from baseline (69.70 BW·s−1) to training (62.24 BW·s−1, P = .021) and follow-up (60.35 BW·s−1, P = .031). There was no change in running economy. Conclusions: Our findings demonstrate that simple instructions to “run quietly” can yield immediate and sustained reductions in impact force profiles, which do not influence running economy.

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