The effects of muscle damage on walking biomechanics are speed-dependent
Nikolaidis, Michalis G.
Tsaopoulos, Dimitrios E.
Theodorou, Anastasios A.
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The purpose of the present study was to examine the effects of muscle damage on walking biomechanics at different speeds. Seventeen young women completed a muscle damage protocol of 5 × 15 maximal eccentric actions of the knee extensors and flexors of both legs at 60°/s. Lower body kinematics and swing-phase kinetics were assessed on a horizontal treadmill pre-and 48 h post-muscle damaging exercise at four walking speeds. Evaluated muscle damage indices included isometric torque, delayed onset muscle soreness, and serum creatine kinase. All muscle damage indices changed significantly after exercise, indicating muscle injury. Kinematic results indicated that post-exercise knee joint was significantly more flexed (31-260%) during stance-phase and knee range of motion was reduced at certain phases of the gait cycle at all speeds. Walking post-exercise at the two lower speeds revealed a more extended knee joint (3.1-3.6%) during the swing-phase, but no differences were found between pre-and post-exercise conditions at the two higher speeds. As speed increased, maximum dorsiflexion angle during stance-phase significantly decreased pre-exercise (5.7-11.8%), but remained unaltered post-exercise across all speeds (p > 0.05). Moreover, post-exercise maximum hip extension decreased (3.6-18.8%), pelvic tilt increased (5.5-10.6%), and tempo-spatial differences were found across all speeds (p < 0.05). Limited effects of muscle damage were observed regarding swing-phase kinetics. In conclusion, walking biomechanics following muscle damage are affected differently at relatively higher walking speeds, especially with respect to knee and ankle joint motion. The importance of speed in evaluating walking biomechanics following muscle damage is highlighted.