Recreational running is an activity with multiple reported health benefits for both sexes, however, chronic injuries caused by excessive and/or repetitive loading of the Achilles tendon are common. Males have been identified as being at an increased risk of suffering an injury to the Achilles tendon and as such, knowledge of differences in loading between the sexes may provide further information to better understand why this is the case. The aim of the current investigation was to determine whether gender differences in the Achilles tendon load exist in recreational runners. Fifteen male (age 26.74 ± 5.52 years, body height 1.80 ± 0.11 m and body mass 74.22 ± 7.27 kg) and fifteen female (age 25.13 ± 6.39 years, body height 1.68 ± 0.12 m and body mass 67.12 ± 9.11 kg) recreational runners volunteered to take part in the current investigation. Participants completed 10 trials running at 4.0 m<bold>·</bold>s-1 ±5% striking a force platform (1000 Hz) with their right foot. Ankle joint kinematics were synchronously recorded (250 Hz) using an optoelectric motion capture system. Ankle joint kinetics were computed using Newton-Euler inverse-dynamics. Net external ankle joint moments were then calculated. To estimate Achilles tendon kinetics the plantarflexion moment calculated was divided by an estimated Achilles tendon moment arm of 0.05 m. Differences in Achilles tendon kinetics were examined using independent sample t-tests (p<0.05). The results indicate that males were associated with significantly (p<0.05) greater Achilles tendon loads than females. The findings from this study support the notion that male recreational runners may be at greater risk of Achilles tendon pathology.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.