The effects of fatigue on lower extremity kinematics, kinetics and joint coupling in symptomatic female runners with iliotibial band syndrome

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Abstract

Background:

Altered hip and knee kinematics and joint coupling have been documented in runners with iliotibial band syndrome. Symptoms often present themselves after several minutes of running, yet the effect of fatigue warrants further exploration. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of a run to fatigue in runners with iliotibial band syndrome, as compared to healthy controls.

Methods:

Twenty uninjured and 12 female runners with iliotibial band syndrome performed a treadmill run to fatigue. Prior-to and following a run to fatigue, overground running data were collected. Variables of interest included stance phase: peak hip adduction and internal rotation, peak hip abductor and external rotator joint moments and frontal-sagittal plane hip and knee joint coupling.

Findings:

Fatigue resulted in decreased peak hip adduction angles in injured runners. Fatigue did not affect injured runners differently than controls with respect to the remaining variables. Coupling differences did not exist between healthy and injured runners with respect to the loading or propulsive phases of stance.

Interpretation:

While clinicians often strengthen hip abductor muscles and provide gait re-training to decrease stance phase hip adduction, our results suggest that, when exerted, female runners with iliotibial band syndrome independently modify their running gait to decrease hip adduction, potentially as a result of pain. Fatigue did not have an effect on the remaining study variables. It is possible that reducing the length of the iliotibial band through minimizing hip adduction reduces pain, but the other variables examined are not sensitive to this phenomenon.

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