Habitual foot strike pattern does not affect simulated Triceps Surae muscle metabolic energy consumption during running [RESEARCH ARTICLE]

Wannes Swinnen, Wouter Hoogkamer, Friedl De Groote, and Benedicte Vanwanseele

Foot strike pattern affects ankle joint work and Triceps Surae muscle-tendon dynamics during running. Whether these changes in muscle-tendon dynamics also affect Triceps Surae muscle energy consumption is still unknown. In addition, as the Triceps Surae muscle accounts for a substantial amount of the whole body metabolic energy consumption, changes in Triceps Surae energy consumption may affect whole body metabolic energy consumption. However, direct measurements of muscle metabolic energy consumption during dynamic movements is hard. Model-based approaches can be used to estimate individual muscle and whole body metabolic energy consumption based on Hill type muscle models. In this study, we use an integrated experimental and dynamic optimization approach to compute muscle states (muscle forces, lengths, velocities, excitations and activations) of 10 habitual mid-/forefoot striking and 9 habitual rearfoot striking runners while running at 10 and 14 km/h. The Achilles tendon stiffness of the musculoskeletal model was adapted to fit experimental ultrasound data of the Gastrocnemius medialis muscle during ground contact. Next, we calculated Triceps Surae muscle and whole body metabolic energy consumption using four different metabolic energy models provided in literature. Neither Triceps Surae metabolic energy consumption (p>0.35), nor whole body metabolic energy consumption (p>0.14) was different between foot strike patterns, regardless of the energy model used or running speed tested. Our results provide new evidence that mid-/forefoot and rearfoot strike pattern are metabolically equivalent.

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