Running Form Analysis Based on Impact Dynamics: A Minimally Complex Mechanical Model
Biomechanical models of different complexity are used to understand the dynamics of human running. Low degrees-of-freedom models are appropriate for the prediction of the effect of certain parameter changes. We present a minimally complex biomechanical model which characterizes the effects of foot strike pattern and shank angle on the ground-foot impact intensity, which influences the risk of injuries and energy efficiency.
A three segment leg model (thigh, shank and foot) is proposed combined with the mass of the rest of the body parts concentrated in the hip. The ground-foot impact intensity and the absorbed kinetic energy are analyzed using multibody dynamics tools. The impact intensity was discovered in the parameter space of the angle of the thigh, the angle of the shank, the foot strike pattern and the running speed.
The results regarding the effect of strike pattern are in coincidence with the literature: forefoot strike implies lower impact intensity and energy absorption than rearfoot strike. However, in contrast of the previous result of a two segment foot model from the related literature, the calculations indicated that the shank angle highly affects the impact intensity: the impact intensity can be reduced by foot touchdown under the hip. We showed that foot and shank cannot be analyzed in itself without considering the thigh and the total body weight, and we also confirmed that the horizontal velocity cannot be neglected when foot impact is analyzed.