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. Specifically, the candidate will be involved with objective (1) of the theme project, in which he will investigate the existence of subgroups of kinematic patterns of the foot-ankle complex during running, and its association with the mechanical responses to a therapeutic exercise protocol for the feet and with the incidence of running related lower limb injuries in long-distance runners. Methods: Non-supervised machine learning methods will be applied to ankle and foot kinematic data for the analysis of subgroups of running kinematic patterns. Supervised methods will also be utilized to identify kinematic factors related to the classification of runners regarding the injury incidence and the response to a therapeutic exercise protocol for the feet. Expected results: We intend to show that there are homogeneous subgroups of kinematic patterns of the foot-ankle complex during running and that those patterns are related to the incidence of running related injuries and to the mechanical response to the exercise intervention directed for the feet.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: