A cause of running injury is from shocks to the body from the impact of running, which cause vibrations that travel from the foot to throughout the body. Runners adapt their running patterns according to conditions to manage these shocks.

Postdoctoral researcher Delphine Chadefaux shared her insights regarding repetitive shocks and adapting running patterns during the recent Acoustics ’17 Boston, the third joint meeting of the Acoustical Society of America and the European Acoustics Association.

“The way runners manage the three-dimensional components of the vibrations, especially in terms of frequency, is not well understood. It’s very difficult to measure the vibrations accurately,” Chadefaux explains, in a media release from the Acoustical Society of America. “The study looked at which biomechanical parameters runners adapt to tune the shock-induced vibrations according to different running conditions.”

Chadefaux measured runners’ kinematics using a motion-capture system. She then measured the vibrations using accelerometers placed on the skin at various points, such as at the foot, knee, shank and hip.

“We wanted to understand how the vibrations were propagating and how the human body was adapting to them,” Chadefaux adds. “While taking these measurements, runners were running on an indoor surface under controlled conditions. In the future, we would like to experiment with more realistic conditions by carrying out the experiment outdoors.”

“Preliminary results revealed that at various speeds the human body is changing to adapt to these vibrations and stabilize the energetics that are propagating to the upper part of the body. Whether you run slowly or quickly, the same processes are still at work to protect the upper area of the body,” Chadefaux states, the release continues. “With that said, these are still early findings and more research is required to confirm them.”

Chadefaux believes that this study could fill an important gap in the research literature. “Many of the studies involved in running or shoe development do not focus enough on shock propagation,” Chadefaux says. “We would eventually like to use the insights that we garner to advance the collective understanding of how to prevent running injuries and design better running shoes.”

[Source(s): Acoustical Society of America, Science Daily]