Cumulative loads in the knee joint increase at slow-speed
Patellofemoral pain, patellar tendinopathy and iliotibial band syndrome are common knee joint injuries amongst distance runners. We know that by reducing running speed, we will decrease the amount of load through the anterior knee with each stride. However, by decreasing the running speed we conversely increase the number of strides per minute. Therefore, the aim of the following study was to determine whether the cumulative load in the knee at a given running distance is increased when running speed is decreased.
Both kinematic and ground reaction force data was obtained from 16 recreational runners at 3 different speeds. Results indicated that the cumulative load at the knee was significantly greater at slower running speeds, with a relative difference of 80%.
These findings highlight that although slow speed running decreases knee joint load per stride, it significantly increases the cumulative load over the duration of the run. This has implications when prescribing specific running speeds when rehabilitating injured runners.
> From: Petersen et al., J Orthop Sports Phys Ther (2015) (Epub ahead of print). All rights reserved to Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy. Click here for the Pubmed summary.