Date of Award

Spring 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Athletic Training – Post Professional Concentration

Committee Chairperson

Nicole Cattano, PhD, ATC

Committee Member

Kenneth Clark, PhD

Committee Member

John Smith MS, ATC


Context: Lower body positive pressure treadmills (LBPPT) have been integrated into athletic performance and rehabilitation, but the physiologic and biomechanical effects of LBPPT unloading are not well known. As LBPPT use increases, it is imperative to know its effects on local joint cartilage. Assessing femoral cartilage deformation through ultrasonography after running on a LBPPT may provide a better understanding of effects on knee cartilage. Objective: Compare the effects of running at 100% and 80% body weight (BW) on a LBPPT on femoral articular cartilage and gait biomechanics between sexes and limbs in healthy, physically active participants. Design: Two group crossover. Setting: Division II University. Participants: 10 males and 10 females. Interventions: Independent variables included sex and running condition. Main Outcome Measures: Dependent variables were femoral cartilage deformation, vertical ground reaction force, and patient reported outcomes (PROs). Possible covariates included foot strike, mass, and height. Results: Data was analyzed using Pearson’s correlations, independent, and dependent T-tests. Femoral cartilage width significantly reduced after running at 100% BW. No significant reduction in femoral cartilage width in the majority of compartments after running at 80% BW. 100% BW had significantly greater reduction in cartilage width unilaterally compared to 80% BW. All biomechanical measures were significantly different between body weight trials. Females had significantly greater reductions in cartilage width unilaterally compared to males. PROs were negatively correlated with right cartilage percent change at both conditions. Conclusion: Running at 80% BW on a LBPPT lead to reduced cartilage deformation and altered biomechanics compared to 100% BW.