Changes in segment coordination variability and the impacts of the lower limb across running mileages in half marathons: Implications for running injuries

Linwei Chen, Duo Wai Chi Wong, Yan Wang, Qitao Tan, Wing Kai Lam, Ming Zhang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Segment coordination variability (CV) is a movement pattern associated with running-related injuries. It can also be adversely affected by a prolonged run. However, research on this topic is currently limited. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of a prolonged run on segment CV and vertical loading rates during a treadmill half marathon. Methods: Fifteen healthy runners ran a half marathon on an instrumental treadmill in a biomechanical laboratory. Synchronized kinematic and kinetic data were collected every 2 km (from 2 km until 20 km), and the data were processed by musculoskeletal modeling. Segment CVs were computed from the angle-angle plots of selected pelvis-thigh, thigh-shank, and shank-rearfoot couplings using a modified vector coding technique. The loading rate of vertical ground reaction force was also calculated. A one-way MANOVA with repeated measures was performed on each of the outcome variables to examine the main effect of running mileage. Results: Significant effects of running mileage were found on segment CVs (p = 0.004–0.010) but not on loading rate (p = 0.881). Notably, during the early stance phase, the CV of pelvis frontal vs. thigh frontal was significantly increased at 20 km compared with the CV at 8 km (g = 0.59, p = 0.022). The CV of shank transverse vs. rearfoot frontal decreased from 2 km to 8 km (g = 0.30, p = 0.020) but then significantly increased at both 18 km (g = 0.05, p < 0.001) and 20 km (g = 0.36, p < 0.001). Conclusion: At the early stance, runners maintained stable CVs on the sagittal plane, which could explain the unchanged loading rate throughout the half marathon. However, increased CVs on the frontal/transverse plane may be an early sign of fatigue and indicative of possible injury risk. Further studies are necessary for conclusive statements in this regard.

Original languageEnglish
Article number32992036
JournalJournal of Sport and Health Science
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Sep 2020


  • Coupling angle
  • Endurance running
  • Motion capture analysis
  • Musculoskeletal modeling
  • Vector coding technique

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

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