Relationship between Lower Limb Kinematics and Upper Trunk Acceleration in Recreational Runners

Laura Simoni, Silvia Pancani, Federica Vannetti, Claudio Macchi, Guido Pasquini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Upper trunk (UT) kinematics in runners and its relationship with lower limbs has been poorly investigated, although it is acknowledged that dynamic stability of the upper body is a primary objective of human locomotion. This study aimed to explore UT kinematics according to gender and level of training and in relation to lower limb run patterns described through the presence of: overstriding, crossover, excessive protonation, and pelvic drop. Lower body variables chosen to describe running pattern were those that are frequently modified during gait-retraining with the goal of reducing injury risk. Eighty-seven recreational runners (28 females and 59 males, age 41 ± 10 years) performed a one minute run test on a treadmill at self-selected speed. UT kinematics was measured using an inertial measurement unit, while run features were assessed through an optoelectronic system and video analysis. Accelerations and root-mean-square on mediolateral and anteroposterior axes, normalized using the vertical component of the acceleration, were estimated to describe UT stability. Results showed no significant differences in the normalized UT acceleration root-mean-square according to gender and level of training as well as according to the presence of overstriding, crossover, and excessive protonation. The only running strategy studied in this work that showed a significant relationship with UT stability was the presence of excessive pelvic drop. The latter was significantly associated (p=0.020) to a decrease in the normalized acceleration root-mean-square along the mediolateral direction. Although the excessive pelvic drop seemed to have a positive effect in stabilizing the upper body, concerns remain on the effect of a poor control of the pelvis on the biomechanics of lower limbs. Results obtained confirm the hypothesis that the lower body is able to respond to varying impact load conditions to maintain UT stability.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8973010
JournalJournal of Healthcare Engineering
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Surgery
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Health Informatics


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