Background: The performance, particularly in one of the most popular sports activities such as running, is typically influenced by the state of the musculoskeletal system, either by the level of training and conditioning of the biological structures, or by the aging process. Any changes in the biomechanics of the musculoskeletal system, especially in the feet and ankles, and in the coordination of movement, will strongly influence the behavior of the runner, regardless of age, predisposing him or her to injuries and may substantially compromise his or her quality of life. Understanding the effects of a therapeutic approach focused on the feet and of aging on the biomechanics of walking and running, on the coordination, strength and functionality of the lower limb muscles will contribute to the adoption of more effective therapeutic and preventive strategies for the population of adults and elderly runners.Objectives: The main objective of this project is to understand the effects (1) of a "ground-up" therapeutic approach and (2) of aging on the biomechanics of walking and running, on the coordination of the lower limbs, on the strength and functionality of the muscles of the lower limbs and on the prevention of running-related injuries. In particular, we will (1) investigate the effects of a protocol of therapeutic exercises for the feet on the prevalence of running-related injuries in the lower limbs of long distance runners and (2) investigate how the coordination of movement is affected by aging and running practice.Methods: In the first set of experiments, we will conduct a randomized controlled prospective trial in which a group of the subjects will participate in a protocol of therapeutic exercises for the ankle / foot complexes. All subjects will be assessed at different times regarding the functionality of the feet, muscle tropism, ankle and foot strength, and the biomechanics of their walking and running. In a second set of experiments, we will model and computationally simulate the experimentally-measured movements of walking and running of young and elderly adults (both sedentary and runners) in order to determine the joint torques and muscle strength in the lower limbs and their coordination patterns.Expected results: We intend to show that the proposed therapeutic protocol is an innovative and effective approach in decreasing the incidence of injuries in runners and show for the first time what the effects of aging and running practice are on the movement coordination of elderly people.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: