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ACSM: Stronger hips improved running mechanics, lessened knee pain
Date:6/2/2011

Hip strengthening exercises performed by female runners not only significantly reduced patellofemoral pain -- a common knee pain experienced by runners -- but they also improved the runners' gaits, according to Indiana University motion analysis expert Tracy Dierks.

"The results indicate that the strengthening intervention was successful in reducing pain, which corresponded to improved mechanics," said Dierks, associate professor of physical therapy in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. "The leg was going through more motion, suggesting that the (pain) guarding mechanism was reduced, and coordination or control of many of these peak or maximum angles in the leg were improved in that they were getting closer to occurring at the same time."

Only in recent years have researchers begun studying the hips as a possible contributor to patellofemoral pain (PFP). This study is the first to focus on hip strength and gait changes during prolonged running. Dierks, director of the Motion Analysis Research Laboratory at IUPUI, discussed his findings on Wednesday at the American College of Sports Medicine annual meeting in Denver.

The runners in Dierks' study received no training or coaching on proper running form, which makes the improvements more notable. The improvements in mechanics resembled those of uninjured runners, when muscles, joints and limbs move economically and in synch with each other.

About the study

The study involved four runners and a control group comprised of another four runners. Hip strength measurements and kinematic data -- minute measurements of how the women's hips, knees and shin bones moved and rotated while they ran -- were taken before and after the runners in the control group maintained their normal running schedule for six weeks. The measurements were repeated for all of the runners before and after the next six-week p
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Contact: Tracy Dierks
tdierks@IUPUI.edu
317-274-3147
Indiana University
Source:Eurekalert

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