Context

A narrow base of gait (BOG), the mediolateral distance between the foot and body's line of gravity at midstance, during running is a suggested cause of injuries such as iliotibial band syndrome and tibial stress injury. However, an understanding of modifiable and nonmodifiable factors that influence BOG is lacking, which limits the development of corrective strategies.

Objective

To determine if BOG varies by sex and running speed and the influence of running kinematics and anthropometrics on BOG.

Design

Cross-sectional study.

Setting

Record review of routinely collected performance data from a National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I intercollegiate athletic program.

Patients or Other Participants

A total of 166 Division I collegiate athletes (basketball, cross-country, football, soccer).

Main Outcome Measure(s)

Running biomechanics (N = 166) and dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry-derived anthropometric data (n = 68) were extracted. Running variables were BOG, step rate, stride length, foot-inclination angle, center-of-mass vertical displacement, heel-to-center of mass anteroposterior distance, and peak stance-phase angles: hip flexion, hip adduction, pelvic drop, knee flexion, and ankle dorsiflexion. Extracted anthropometric variables were height; leg, femur, and tibia length; and anterior-superior iliac spine, hip-joint, and greater trochanter width. We calculated linear mixed-effects models to assess the influence of sex and running speed on BOG and identify the kinematic and anthropometric variables most associated with BOG.

Results

A significant interaction between sex and running speed on BOG was observed, with males demonstrating a smaller BOG than females at faster speeds and BOG decreasing overall with speed. The kinematic measures most associated with BOG at preferred running speed were foot-inclination angle at initial contact and peak stance-phase hip adduction and ankle dorsiflexion. Anterior-superior iliac spine width was the anthropometric variable most associated with BOG at preferred running speed.

Conclusions

Sex and running speed must be considered when determining the appropriateness of an individual's BOG. Additionally, BOG was associated with several potentially modifiable kinematic parameters.

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