The effects & mechanisms of increasing running step rate: A feasibility study in a mixed-sex group of runners with patellofemoral pain Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVES:To explore feasibility of recruitment and retention of runners with patellofemoral pain (PFP), before delivering a step rate intervention. DESIGN:Feasibility study. SETTING:Human performance laboratory. PARTICIPANTS:A mixed-sex sample of runners with PFP (n = 11). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:Average/worst pain and the Kujala Scale were recorded pre/post intervention, alongside lower limb kinematics and surface electromyography (sEMG), sampled during a 3 KM treadmill run. RESULTS:Recruitment and retention of a mixed-sex cohort was successful, losing one participant to public healthcare and with kinematic and sEMG data lost from single participants only. Clinically meaningful reductions in average (MD = 2.1, d = 1.7) and worst pain (MD = 3.9, d = 2.0) were observed. Reductions in both peak knee flexion (MD = 3.7°, d = 0.78) and peak hip internal rotation (MD = 5.1°, d = 0.96) were observed, which may provide some mechanistic explanation for the identified effects. An increase in both mean amplitude (d = 0.53) and integral (d = 0.58) were observed for the Vastus Medialis Obliqus (VMO) muscle only, of questionable clinical relevance. CONCLUSIONS:Recruitment and retention of a mixed sex PFP cohort to a step rate intervention involving detailed biomechanical measures is feasible. There are indications of both likely efficacy and associated mechanisms. Future studies comparing the efficacy of different running retraining approaches are warranted.


publication date

  • 2018