Running speed-induced changes in foot contact pattern influence impact loading rate

Bastiaan Breine, Philippe Malcolm, Samuel Galle, Pieter Fiers, Edward C. Frederick, Dirk De Clercq

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Purpose. We aimed to determine the effect of speed-induced changes in foot contact patterns on the vertical instantaneous loading rate (VILR). We hypothesized that transition runners, i.e. runners that shift towards a mid- (MF) or forefoot contact pattern (FF) when running speed increases, show smaller increases in VILR than non-transition runners, i.e. runners that remain with a rearfoot contact pattern (RF). Methods. Fifty-two male and female runners ran overground at 3.2, 4.1, 5.1 and 6.2 m s−1. Ground reaction forces, lower limb sagittal plane knee and ankle kinematics and plantar pressures were recorded. Multi-level linear regression models were used to assess differences between transition and non-transition runners. Results. Non-transition runners experienced larger speed-induced increases in VILR (48.6 ± 2.6 BW s−1 per m s−1) than transition runners (–1.4 ± 7.6 BW s−1 per m s−1). Transition runners showed higher VILRs and a more flat foot touch down at the same pre-transition speed than non-transition runners. Conclusion. When running speed increases, some runners transition towards more anterior foot contact patterns. This reduces or even eliminates the speed-induced increase in VILR. This result is especially the case for those RF runners who already have relatively high VILRs and flat foot positioning at slower running speeds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)774-783
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Sport Science
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jul 3 2019


  • Biomechanics
  • injury and prevention
  • kinetics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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