Exertion may alter running mechanics and increase injury risk. Effects of exertion following gait-retraining are unknown. Objectives: To determine how exertion effects load rates, footstrike, and cadence in runners following a transition to forefoot strike (FFS) or increased cadence (CAD) gait-retraining. Methods: 33 (9 M, 24 F) healthy rearfoot strike runners were randomized into CAD or FFS groups. All runners received strengthening exercises and gait-retraining. 3D kinetic and kinematic motion analysis with instrumented treadmill at self-selected speed was performed at baseline & 1-week post-intervention, including an exerted run. Exertion was ≥17 on Borg’s Rating of Perceived Exertion scale or voluntary termination of running. Results: Within group comparisons between fresh and exerted running: Cadence not affected in either group. Foot angle at contact became less plantarflexed in FFS (−2.2°, ±0.4) and was unchanged in CAD. Both groups increased vertical average load rate (FFS +16.9%, CAD +13.6%). CAD increased vertical stiffness (+8.6 kN/m). FFS reduced ankle excursion (1.8°). (p ≤ 0.05 for all values listed). Conclusion: Both FFS and CAD exhibited increased load rates with exertion. Variables that may have increased load rates were different for each group. CAD runners had increased vertical stiffness while FFS runners had reduced plantarflexion at contact and reduced ankle dorsiflexion excursion.

University of Lincoln, College of Social Science Research

Erin E. Futrell, Springfield College, Department of Physical Therapy

K. Douglas Gross, Institute of Health Professions, Department of Physical Therapy

David R Mullineaux, University of Lincoln, School of Sport and Exercise Science

Irene S. Davis, Harvard Medical School, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation