The Link Between Running Style and Soft Tissue Injuries

The Link Between Running Style and Soft Tissue Injuries

A recent study in the American Journal of Sports Medicine sought to understand if individuals with certain gait styles were more likely to suffer soft tissue injuries when running than others. Previous research has shown a clear connection between specific lower body injuries and gait styles, but there’s been minimal research on soft tissue injuries.

For their study, researchers examined 72 injured runners and 36 healthy runners. The injured runners were grouped into one of four subgroups based on their injury (patellofemoral pain, iliotibial band syndrome, medial tibial stress syndrome, or Achilles tendinopathy). Using 3-d technology, researchers were able to examine gait kinematics between the four injured groups and the healthy control groups.

Running Results
After looking at the data, researchers found that runners with soft tissue injuries demonstrated greater contralateral pelvic drop (CPD), greater forward trunk lean at midstance, and a more extended knee and dorsiflexed ankle at initial contact. These findings were consistent among all four injured subgroups, with CPD being the most important variable in predicting whether the subject was running with a soft tissue injury or uninjured. Researchers also noted that for every one degree increase in pelvic drop, there was an 80 percent increase in the odds of being classified as injured.

Researchers say the findings could be beneficial for clinicians and orthopedic specialists when assessing a patient for biomechanical contributors to soft tissue-related running injuries.

While the words “dorsiflexed ankle at contact” or “contralateral pelvic drop” may not mean a lot to the average reader, these are interesting findings from a clinician standpoint. Soft-tissue injuries are pretty common among in the average runner, so knowing what forces may predispose someone to a higher injury likelihood can help providers make adjustments to an individual’s gait and stride pattern to help reduce their likelihood of injury.

So if you’re a runner and you’re dealing with acute or chronic pain during or after a run, consider reaching out to Silverman Ankle & Foot. We’ll be able to diagnose your injury and help chart a course for rehab while also examining the biomechanical forces that contributed to the injury in the first place so you can get back to running pain free. For more information, give us a call at (952) 224-8500.