The effects of compression tights on biomechanics related to overuse running injuries
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Publisher:The Ohio State University
Series/Report no.:The Ohio State University. Department of Biomedical Engineering Undergraduate Research Theses; 2016
With about half of the nearly 15 million runners being injured annually and no current methods stemming the tide, there is a need to find effective treatments. These injuries are most commonly from overuse. Compression tights have been advertised to enhance performance and address injuries by improving biomechanics. In the past, small changes in biomechanical variables have been associated with runner injuries. Due to the cyclical loading of running, these small biomechanical changes can accumulate into the overuse injuries so prevalent in the sport. Compression garments have not had their effect on many injury-related biomechanical variables analyzed yet. We proposed to use running biomechanics data from another study to determine the effect of compression tights on biomechanics related to runner injuries. Each participant ran across force plates at a speed (±5%) corresponding to 80% of their max VO2. By comparing the conditions of no compression to high compression (20-25 mmHg) with paired t-tests, no significant results were detected. Vertical impact peak was trending upward (p < 0.1) with high compression, which implies that the tights may be increasing the risk for developing Tibial Stress Fractures. There appeared to be no significant beneficial or detrimental effects from high compression tights on overuse injury-related biomechanical variables for the 10 runners used in this study. This study could be repeated to control for preferred running distance, and identify a target population size with a power analysis. Outside of running biomechanics, there still may be an effect on muscle exhaustion, psychology, proprioception, or EMG patterns from compression garments. It remains an important endeavor to find effective methods to reduce the rate of runner injuries by investigating other injury prevention strategies.
Academic Major: Biomedical Engineering
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