The International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy

Spatiotemporal comparison of overground and treadmill running with pressure sensor insoles in division I collegiate runners

Hanz Tao, Lindsay Joyce, Bethany Kozak, Jacob Luiken, Nathan Wendt

Department of Physical Therapy, University of South Dakota, Vermillion


Cadence, cross country, pedobarometry, running injury, movement system


Background Both clinicians and researchers often utilize treadmills to analyze spatiotemporal and biomechanical factors during running. However, there is question of whether or not treadmill running mimics overground running. The development of new wearable technology, such as pressure sensor insoles, presents an opportunity to compare the two running conditions. Purpose To compare the spatiotemporal factors between overground and treadmill running in collegiate runners, using pressure sensor insoles. Methods Twenty-one collegiate runners (age 20.1 ± 1.5 years, 81% female) were recruited from a Division I Cross Country team. Subjects participated in two 15-minute testing sessions. During the first session, subjects ran at their “easy run pace” for 200 meters, while wearing pressure sensor insoles. During the second session, subjects ran at a speed-matched pace on a treadmill for one minute at a level grade, and one minute at a 1% incline. Cadence, stance duration and swing duration were processed using Moticon Science Pro+ software (Munich, DE). Data between overground and treadmill running was compared using repeated measures analysis of variance with α= 0.05. Results Compared to overground running, level and incline treadmill running was associated with increased cadence (mean difference [MD]=3.55-3.22 strides per minute; p< 0.01), decreased stance duration (MD=14-16 ms; p< 0.01), and decreased swing duration (MD=11-12 ms; p< 0.05). Conclusion In collegiate runners, overground and treadmill running differ in spatiotemporal comparisons.

Moticon's Summary

In this study it was aimed to compare overground running and treadmill running in terms of resulting spatiotemporal factors and to consequently assess if treadmill running is able to mimic overground running. Twenty-one from a college division 1 cross country running team were recruited for testing. Subjects were asked to perform three different running tasks: One 200m run at their long-distance pace on an indoor track as well as two treadmill runs at matched pace one without inclination and the other with an inclination of 1%. Moticon sensor insoles were used during all three tasks to collect spatiotemporal parameters, specifically cadence, stance duration and swing duration. Results revealed increased cadence as well as decreased stance and swing duration when runs were performed on a treadmill.

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