Lower limb joint kinetics during walking in middle-aged runners with low or high lifetime running exposure


Aging is associated with a distal-to-proximal shift in joint kinetics during walking. This plasticity of gait is amplified rather than attenuated in old adults with high physical capacity. Because running is associated with greater kinetic demands at the ankle, older individuals with more versus less lifetime running exposure may retain a larger proportion of their ankle kinetics. The purpose of the study was to compare lower-extremity joint kinetics during walking between middle-aged runners with high and low lifetime running exposure. Eighteen middle-aged runners (9 per group) participated. Joint kinetics were calculated from kinematic and ground reaction force data during overground walking at 1.3 m·s−1 and compared between groups. High exposure runners produced 50% greater positive hip work (P =.03; Cohen d = 1.02) during walking compared with low exposure runners, but ankle kinetics were not different between groups. No other differences in joint kinetics or kinematics were observed between groups. These findings suggest that the age-related increase in hip joint kinetics during walking could be a compensatory gait strategy that is not attenuated by lifetime running exposure alone. Finally, the amount of lifetime running exposure did not affect ankle kinetics during walking in middle-aged runners.

Publication Title

Journal of Applied Biomechanics