Date of Graduation

Spring 2016

Document Type

Honors Research Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Major

Exercise Science - PrePhysical Therapy

Research Sponsor

Ronald Otterstetter

First Reader

Stacey Buser

Second Reader

Rachele Kappler

Abstract

INTRODUCTION: While associations between running biomechanics and injury incidence have been fairly well investigated in the adult population, few studies have targeted the adolescent population. Since the adolescent developmental stage places certain vulnerabilities on athletes, adolescents typically sustain injuries that differ from those of adults (DiFiori J.P., et al, 2014). Due to these vulnerabilities, it would be relevant to investigate the biomechanics-injury relationship specifically in this population. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to investigate the associations that exist between running gait characteristics and incidence of injury for middle school cross country runners METHODS: The running gait of 19 middle school cross country runners was analyzed at the beginning of the cross country season. Participants reported all injuries that were acquired prior to and throughout the season. The biomechanics of participants were compared in order to determine any gait consistencies between runners with similar injuries. RESULTS: The injuries presented by participants in this study were knee injuries, tibial stress fractures, and Achilles’ tendon injuries. Several gait characteristics were found to be shared between participants presenting with similar injuries. CONCLUSION: Within this study, participants with injuries to the same anatomical location shared several corresponding biomechanical characteristics. Many of these characteristics had previously been correlated with the same injuries in other studies. As research continues to identify consistent relationships between running biomechanics and injury, healthcare professionals and coaches will gain a better understanding of how to approach injury prevention in adolescent runners.