The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of step length and foot strike pattern along with their interaction on tibiofemoral joint (TFJ) and medial compartment TFJ kinetics during running. Nineteen participants ran with a rear foot strike pattern at their preferred speed using a short (−10%), preferred, and long (+10%) step length. These step length conditions were then repeated using a forefoot strike pattern. Regardless of foot strike pattern, a 10% shorter step length resulted in decreased peak contact force, force impulse per step, force impulse per kilometre, and average loading rate at the TFJ and medial compartment, while a 10% increased step length had the opposite effects (all P < 0.05). A forefoot strike pattern significantly lowered TFJ and medial compartment TFJ average loading rates compared with a rear foot strike pattern (both <0.05) but did not change TFJ or medial compartment peak force, force impulse per step, or force impulse per km. The combination of a shorter step length and forefoot strike pattern produced the greatest reduction in peak medial compartment contact force (P < 0.05). Knowledge of these running modification effects may be relevant to the management or prevention of TFJ injury or pathology among runners.
- loading rate
- step rate