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Reducing running related injury risk factors in middle-aged runners (Ref: SF20/SER/HAYES2)

Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

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Dr P Hayes Applications accepted all year round Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Running popularity has increased in recent years with events such as The Parkrun, a weekly 5-km run, attracting approximately 105,000 participants nationally per week. Parkrun participants, are mainly middle-aged club or recreational runners (Parkrun 2018). A meta-analysis (Videbaek et al 2015) revealed that recreational runners experience 7.7 running related injuries (RRI) per 1000 hours of running, with knee injuries most prevalent (Linton and Valentin 2018, van Gent et al 2007). Biomechanical studies comparing runners with knee injuries and uninjured runners, show increased hip internal rotation (HIR) and reduced gluteus medius (GM) strength (Miller et al 2007; Dierks et al 2010) in injured runners.
Recently, we (Riazati Caplan and Hayes 2019) found that immediately after interval training, middle-aged recreational runners had reduced GM strength and increased HIR. This change in kinematic and physiological profile towards that associated with runners suffering knee injuries suggests an increased risk of RRI after a hard training session. In a subsequent study (Riazati Caplan and Hayes under review in MSSE) we showed these fatigue related changes, along with other neuromuscular changes (reduced MVC and voluntary activation), were still present 24-hours after interval training. Wearable technology exists, and continues to be developed, providing runners to with information on their gait during training, potentially replacing the need for laboratory testing.
The aim of this PhD is to continue this line of research. Initially, we would seek to extend the recovery period beyond 24-hours to identify the time-course of recovery and potential window of increased risk of RRI. Subsequent studies would investigate both acute and chronic interventions to minimise both the extent and time-course of the recovery period, thereby reducing the window of increased RRI risk. Alongside this, we would seek to evaluate current wearable technologies.

Eligibility and How to Apply:
Please note eligibility requirement:
• Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
• Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
• Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see

Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g., SF20/…) will not be considered.
Deadline for applications: Open
Start Date: October 2020 or March 2021
Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality.

Funding Notes

Please note, this is a self-funded project and does not include tuition fees or stipend; the studentship is available to Students Worldwide. Fee bands are available at . A relevant fee band will be discussed at interview based on project running costs


Riazati, Caplan and Hayes (2019) The number of strides required for treadmill running gait analysis is unaffected by either speed or run duration. Journal of Biomechanics DOI

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