Male and female gluteal muscle activity and lower extremity kinematics during running

East Carolina University, Department of Physical Therapy, Greenville, NC 27858, USA
Clinical biomechanics (Bristol, Avon) (Impact Factor: 1.97). 09/2012; 27(10). DOI: 10.1016/j.clinbiomech.2012.08.008
Source: PubMed


Patellofemoral pain is one of the most common lower extremity overuse injuries in runners and is significantly more common in females. This study evaluated differences in the timing and magnitude of gluteal muscle activity as well as hip and knee joint frontal and transverse plane kinematics between male and female runners in the context of this gender bias.

Twenty healthy male and 20 healthy female runners were participants. Three-dimensional lower extremity kinematics, and gluteus medius and gluteus maximus muscle activation were recorded using motion analysis and electromyography as subjects ran at 3.7 m/s (+/-5%). Comparisons of hip and knee joint kinematic and gluteus muscle activation data were made using independent t-tests (α=0.05).

Females ran with 40% greater peak gluteus maximus activation level (P=0.028, effect size=0.79) and 53% greater average activation level (P=0.013, effect size=0.93) than males. Female runners also displayed greater hip adduction (P=.001, effect size=1.20) and knee abduction (P=0.011, effect size=0.87) angles at initial contact, greater hip adduction at peak vertical ground reaction force (P<0.001, effect size=1.31), and less knee internal rotation excursion than males (P=0.035, effect size=0.71).

Greater gluteus maximus activation levels during running may predispose females to earlier gluteus maximus fatigue, promoting altered lower extremity running kinematics thought to be associated with the etiology of patellofemoral pain. Gender differences in transverse and frontal plane hip and knee kinematics observed in this study may also contribute to the gender bias for patellofemoral pain among females.

Download full-text


Available from: Thomas W Kernozek
    • "We suggest the pattern of transverse plane pelvic motion during running is a secondary consequence of gluteus maximus activity. This muscle is active for most of stance phase (Gazendam & Hof, 2007; Willson et al., 2012) and functions primarily to extend the hip. However, gluteus maximus will also act to externally rotate the hip (Delp, Hess, Hungerford, & Jones, 1999) or, equivalently, rotate the pelvis away from the stance limb. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Previous research into running has demonstrated consistent patterns in pelvic, lumbar and thoracic motions between different human runners. However, to date, there has been limited attempt to explain why observed coordination patterns emerge and how they may relate to centre of mass (CoM) motion. In this study, kinematic data were collected from the thorax, lumbar spine, pelvis and lower limbs during over ground running in n=28 participants. These data was subsequently used to develop a theoretical understanding of the coordination of the spine and pelvis in all three body planes during the stance phase of running. In the sagittal plane, there appeared to be an antiphase coordinate pattern which may function to increase femoral inclination at toe off whilst minimising anterior-posterior accelerations of the CoM. In the medio-lateral direction, CoM motion appears to facilitate transition to the contralateral foot. However, an antiphase coordination pattern was also observed, most likely to minimise unnecessary accelerations of the CoM. In the transverse plane, motion of the pelvis was observed to lag slightly behind that of the thorax. However, it is possible that the close coupling between these two segments facilitates the thoracic rotation required to passively drive arm motion. This is the first study to provide a full biomechanical rationale for the coordination of the spine and pelvis during human running. This insight should help clinicians develop an improved understanding of how spinal and pelvic motions may contribute to, or result from, common running injuries.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2016 · Human movement science
  • Source
    • "Furthermore, the recurrence rates for PFP are as high as 90%, leaving some authors to conclude that PFP is an enigma for clinicians (Dye, 2001). While there are a plethora of reported symptoms between individuals with PFP, females often present with similar trends in their functional limitations, such as hip weakness and altered movement patterns during functional activities (Aminaka et al., 2011;Bolgla et al., 2008;Willson and Davis, 2008;Willson et al., 2012). Females with PFP often present with an increased hip adduction, hip internal rotation , and knee abduction, which have all been theorized to increase patellofemoral joint (PFJ) stress (Aminaka et al., 2011;Nakagawa et al., 2012). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background: Individuals with patellofemoral pain present with altered hip muscle activation, faulty movement patterns, and pain during functional tasks. Examining new treatment options to address these impairments may better treat those with patellofemoral pain. The purpose of this study was to determine if patterned electrical stimulation to the lower extremity affects muscle activity, movement patterns, and pain following a single treatment. Methods: Fifteen females with patellofemoral pain were randomized to receive a single 15-minute treatment of either a patterned electrical neuromuscular stimulation or a sham. Peak kinematics of the knee, hip, and trunk, electromyography and pain were examined pre and post-intervention during a single leg squat and lateral step-down task. Group means and pre/post reduced kinematic values were also plotted during the entire task with 90% confidence intervals to identify differences in movement strategies. Findings: No baseline differences were found in peak kinematics between groups. No pre to post-intervention differences in peak knee, hip and trunk kinematics were found, however differences were seen when the quality of movement across the entire tasks was assessed. The electrical stimulation group had improved knee flexion and hip abduction during the lateral step-down. A significant improvement in gluteus medius activation following patterned electrical neuromuscular stimulation occurred during the step-down (P=0.039). Significant pain improvements were also seen in both the single leg squat (P=0.025) and lateral step-down (P=0.006). Interpretation: A single treatment of patterned electrical neuromuscular stimulation improved muscle activation, lower extremity kinematics during functional tasks, and pain.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2015 · Clinical biomechanics (Bristol, Avon)
  • Source
    • "Muscle contractions were detected when signals rose above 5 standard deviations from the resting mean for a minimum of 25 msec [18]. Regarding kinematics, a ZXY cardan rotation sequence (sagittal, frontal, transverse) was used for data processing [14] [24]. Kinematic variables of interest were HADD, HIR as well as CPD angles during the stance phase. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Recreational runners with patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) have been shown to present altered movement kinematics, muscle activations, and ground reaction forces (GRF) during running as well as decreased lower limb strength. However, these variables have never been concurrently evaluated in a specific cohort. Therefore, the aim of this study was to compare lower limb control variables during running in recreational runners with and without PFPS. Lower limb control during treadmill running under typical training conditions (usual shoes, foot strike pattern, and speed) was compared between runners with (n=21) and without (n=20) PFPS using lower limb kinematics, electromyographic (EMG) recordings from representative muscles (gluteus medius/maximus, quadriceps and soleus), and vertical GRF. Isometric muscle strength was also evaluated. When comparing all runners from both groups, no between-group differences were found in variables commonly associated with PFPS such as peak hip adduction, hip internal rotation, contralateral pelvic drop, EMG of gluteal and quadriceps muscles, vertical loading rate, or lower limb strength. However, runners with PFPS showed significantly higher hip adduction at toe-off, lower excursion in hip adduction during late-stance, and longer duration of soleus activation. Sub-analyses were performed for females and for rearfoot strikers (RFS), and revealed that these subgroups accounted for most of between-group differences in hip adduction kinematics. Specifically for RFS with PFPS, lower activation of gluteus medius as well as lower GRF were observed. Our results suggest that deficits reported in runners with PFPS may vary depending on gender and on foot strike pattern. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2015 · Gait & Posture
Show more