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Heat stress impairs proprioception but not running mechanics

Mtibaa, K., Zarrouk, N., Girard, O., Ryu, J.H., Hautier, C. and Racinais, S. (2019) Heat stress impairs proprioception but not running mechanics. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 22 (12). In 1361-1366.

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To determine the effects of heat stress on ankle proprioception and running gait pattern.

Counterbalanced repeated measures.

12 trained runners performed a proprioception test (active movement discrimination) before and immediately after a 30 min, self-paced treadmill run in HOT (39 °C) and COOL (22 °C) ambient conditions. Velocity was imposed during the first and last minute (70% of maximal aerobic velocity, 13.3 ± 0.8 km h−1) for determination of running mechanics and spring–mass characteristics.

Rectal (39.7 ± 0.4 vs. 39.4 ± 0.4 °C), skin (36.3 ± 1.1 vs. 31.8 ± 1.1 °C) and average body (38.3 ± 0.2 vs. 36.4 ± 0.4 °C) temperatures together with heart rate (178 ± 8 vs. 174 ± 6 bpm) and thermal discomfort (6.5 ± 0.5 vs. 4.3 ± 1.3) were all higher at the end of the HOT compared to COOL run (all p < 0.05). Distance covered was lower in HOT than COOL (−5.1 ± 3.6%, p < 0.001). Average error during the proprioception test increased after running in HOT (+11%, p < 0.05) but not in COOL (−2%). There was no significant difference for most segmental and joint angles at heel contact, except for a global increase in pelvis retroversion and decrease in ankle dorsi-flexion angles with time (p < 0.05). Step frequency decreased (−2.5 ± 3.6%) and step length increased (+2.6 ± 3.8%) over time (p < 0.05), independently of condition. Spring–mass characteristics remained unchanged (all p > 0.05).

Heat stress exacerbates thermal, cardiovascular and perceptual responses, while running velocity was slower during a 30 min self-paced treadmill run. Heat stress also impairs ankle proprioception during an active movement discrimination task, but it has no influence on gait pattern assessed at a constant, sub-maximal velocity.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Murdoch Applied Sports Science Laboratory
Publisher: Elsevier BV
Copyright: © 2019 Sports Medicine Australia.
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