Using the spring-mass model for running : force-length curves and foot-strike patterns

Gill, NM ORCID:, Preece, SJ ORCID: and Baker, RJ ORCID: 2020, 'Using the spring-mass model for running : force-length curves and foot-strike patterns' , Gait & Posture, 80 , pp. 318-323.

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Background: The spring-mass model is commonly used to investigate the mechanical characteristics of human running. Underlying this model is the assumption of a linear force-length relationship, during the stance phase of running, and the idea that stiffness can be characterised using a single spring constant. However, it remains unclear whether the assumption of linearity is valid across different running styles. Research question: How does the linearity of the force-length curve vary across a sample of runners and is there an association between force-length linearity and foot-strike index/speed? Methods: Kinematic and kinetic data were collected from twenty-eight participants who ran overground at four speeds. The square of the Pearson’s correlation coefficient, R2 , was used to quantify linearity; with a threshold of R 2 ≥ 0.95 selected to define linear behaviour. A linear mixed model was used to investigate the association between linearity and foot-strike index and speed. Results: Only 36-46 % of participants demonstrated linear force-length behaviour across the four speeds during the loading phase. Importantly, the linear model showed a significant effect of both foot-strike index and speed on linearity during the loading phase (p = 0.003 and p < 0.001, respectively). Significance: This study showed that the assumption of a linear force-length relationship is not appropriate for all runners. These findings suggest that the use of the spring-mass model, and a constant value of stiffness, may not be appropriate for characterising and comparing different running styles. Given these findings, it may be better to restrict the use of the spring-mass model to individuals who exhibit linear force-length dependence. It would also be appropriate for future studies, characterising stiffness using the spring-mass model, to report data on force-length linearity across the cohort under study.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of Health and Society > Centre for Health Sciences Research
Journal or Publication Title: Gait & Posture
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0966-6362
Related URLs:
Depositing User: NM Gill
Date Deposited: 22 Jun 2020 07:51
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2022 04:56

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