Caleb D. Johnson
Adam S. Tenforde
Irene S. Davis
Spaulding National Running Center, Dept. of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, MA, United States
Peak tibial accelerations during running are of interest because of their correlation with vertical ground reaction force load rates and association with running injury. Previous work has demonstrated systematically lower accelerations measured with a bone- compared to skin-mounted accelerometer. However, no studies have assessed the effects of more or less secure attachment methods for skin mounted sensors. Our purpose was to compare two methods of attaching a skin mounted sensor on mean tibial accelerations, stride-to-stride variability, and correlations with vertical load rates. 18 injury-free runners were recruited as participants. An inertial measurement unit, containing a tri-axial accelerometer, was used to record tibial accelerations while participants ran at a self-selected speed on an instrumented treadmill to collect ground reaction forces. The two attachment methods for securing the sensor to the skin were a manufacturer-provided strap (strap condition) and a combination of tape and elastic wraps (wrap condition). Mean vertical accelerations were significantly lower in the wrap condition (p = 0.02, d = 0.57). No differences were detected in resultant accelerations, vertical loading rates, or stride-to-stride variability. Correlations between tibial accelerations and vertical loading rates were strong (r = 0.79–0.91) and similar between conditions. These results provide two key findings of evidence. Evidenced by systematically lower vertical accelerations, a more secure attachment method may be necessary for capturing the most representative measure of tibial accelerations during running. However, a less secure method (i.e. the strap) is sufficient for capturing tibial accelerations as a surrogate for impact loading forces.