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Research Quest on running biomechanics

Research Quest on running biomechanics
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Here is a crazy fact.

There were nearly 10 000 papers published on PubMed containing the term "Physical Therapy" in just 5 months during the year 2022.


While I've become reasonably obsessed with diving through these piles of studies so that wonderful people like you, don't have to - I also occasionally want to pay homage to the incredible technology that makes plenty of these studies possible.

Here's my quick review on a running biomechanics software that you may not have used before but definitely should check out:​

This software is called AnyBodyRun and it's available for free online.

You start off with this little guy:

And then you can tailor certain aspects of the model to represent yourself or your patient.

I am around 1.78m tall and weigh around 75kg. So let's put in the closest values we can get to that:

Now that the statistical model represents yours truly, I enter in my running speed, stride length and foot strike landing pattern:

If I lost or gained weight, how would that affect my running?

So let's play around with this a bit and I'll give you an interesting scenario as an example.

What if I was just starting off running after a long season of being out due to injury? I would probably start off slower than normal, so around 6min per km. Let's say it was a knee injury so I am trying to offload my knee by running more on my toes to land softer.

​We can see that with a midfoot strike, an average stride length and a pace of 5min per km, the amount of force going through my body peaks at just under double bodyweight and the amount of energy that it takes for me to maintain this pace is 0.18 kCal/kg/km.

Now while that is interesting, it is not particularly clinically useful until I start asking a few questions such as;

  • How would that change if I swapped to landing on my toes or my heels?

  • What would happen if my pace decreased or increased?

  • How would my stride length affect my chance of injury or running economy?

My stride length is tiny because I am still apprehensive after the injury so I have resorted to doing an old man shuffle. How do these three variable affect my running?

The force on my body stays low, so I have successfully kept my re-injury risk down but look at how much effort it is going to take. My running economy get's way worse with my kCal/kg/km going from 0.18 to 0.27.

On the one hand, if your goal is fat loss then this is an interesting idea of whether decreasing running economy would increase the amount of energy it takes and therefore calories burned per run.

But on the other hand, if your goal is performance then all that excitement of finally being able to run again goes down the drain as I realise I can't even make a quarter of the distance that I thought I would.

Now I am running in a way that requires more energy while being unfit. Not a smart move, in my opinion.

Here is what I would do instead...

I'd wait a few more weeks to get stronger. By focusing my training on teaching the body to absorb load, when I get back on the road, it is at a faster pace – which not only means a greater amount of force on my body, but also means it feels way easier due to a much more efficient running economy.

These statistical models are of course not 100% perfect or accurate due to the thousands of unique internal and external factors at play, but it might be useful in helping you make better informed decisions about yourself or your patient when the time comes.

So, if you want to give it a bash, go to


Anybody Technology. Accessed from Last access 2022.

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Written by Kyle van Heerden

Online Educator at Research Raconteur

Top 10 Research Quests from Research Raconteur

Are you ready to clinically conquer?

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