Lower-limb biomechanical asymmetry in maximal velocity sprint running
Biomechanical asymmetry analyses have provided valuable insight into submaximal running and walking gait. Knowledge of asymmetry in sprint running is limited due to traditional unilateral methods of data collection. The overall aim of this research was to develop insight into kinematic and kinetic asymmetry in sprint running, with the purpose of informing future research specifically into maximal velocity sprint running. Asymmetry was quantified for a group of trained sprint runners (mean velocity = 9.03 m∙s-1) using anexisting symmetry angle (θSYM)measure. Biomechanical methods were developed to maximise the collection of kinematic data utilising both marker-based and non-intrusive techniques, and kinetic data using multiple force plates. Calculationswere extended, to build on the θSYM, and used for quantifying overall kinematic and kinetic asymmetry for individual athletes. Novel asymmetry scores were developed that incorporated the previously negated consideration of intra-limb variability. The interaction of kinematic and kinetic asymmetry was compared for a range of sprint runnersusing the newly created asymmetry scores.θSYM values were larger for key kinematic variables than step characteristics; values of 6.7% and 1.7% were reported for touchdown distance and step frequency, respectively. The largest asymmetry values were kinetic, with some θSYM values exceeding 90%. The magnitude of asymmetry and variables that displayed significant asymmetry varied on an inter-athlete basis. Kinematic and kinetic asymmetry scores developed within this researchranged from 4.5 to 27.6 and 6.3 to 28.7,respectively; however, no consistent relationship between kinematic and kinetic asymmetry was found. Compensatory kinetic mechanisms may serve to reduce the effects of asymmetry on step characteristics and the performance outcome of step velocity. The novel bilateral analyses performed in this researchidentified the presence of asymmetry, indicating that unilateral analyses of sprint running may lead to important information being overlooked.
- School of Sport and Health Sciences