Foot Strike Run Retraining for Patients With Patellofemoral Chondral Defects: A Case Series

Marisa Pontillo, Brittney Mazzone Gunterstockman, Adam Bunn, Laura Bechard, Sione Wolfgramm, Takman Mack, Shawn Farrokhi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Military service members (SMs) demonstrate high rates of patellofemoral chondral defects (PFCDs) that are difficult to diagnosis and, if untreated, result in a cascade of events eventually leading to osteoarthritis. Running is an essential occupational task for SMs; however, there is little evidence regarding techniques to maintain running ability in individuals with cartilage defects. The purpose of this case series was to assess the clinical application of foot strike run retraining in patients with PFCDs. This case series included two active duty U.S. Marine Corps SMs who presented to outpatient physical therapy with PFCD, diagnosed via MRI. Both patients attended eight foot strike run retraining sessions. Running mechanics and patient-reported outcomes were recorded pre-training, post-training, and at a 1-month follow-up visit. Both patients successfully converted their strike pattern from a rearfoot to a non-rearfoot strike pattern with training and retained this strategy at 1-month follow-up. Post-intervention, both patients demonstrated increased running tolerance, and improvements in Numeric Pain Rating Scale and Lower Extremity Functional Scale scores. Biomechanical analysis showed that both patients demonstrated a 63% to 70% reduction in average and peak vertical ground reaction force loading rates post-treatment. Modification of foot strike pattern from rear to non-rearfoot strike during running for individuals with PFCD can reduce the magnitude of impact loading, which potentially limits disease progression. These findings suggest that foot strike run retraining may be a feasible strategy to reduce pain and improve function in SMs with PFCD who are required to run for occupational responsibilities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)384-390
Number of pages7
JournalMilitary Medicine
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 23 Jan 2024
Externally publishedYes


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