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Sports (Basel). 2019 Jul 29;7(8). pii: E184. doi: 10.3390/sports7080184.

Using A Soft Conformable Foot Sensor to Measure Changes in Foot Strike Angle During Running.

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Department of Health and Exercise Science, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC 28608, USA.
Department of Health and Exercise Science, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC 28608, USA.
Department of Human Physiology, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403, USA.


The potential association between running foot strike analysis and performance and injury metrics has created the need for reliable methods to quantify foot strike pattern outside the laboratory. Small, wireless inertial measurement units (IMUs) allow for unrestricted movement of the participants. Current IMU methods to measure foot strike pattern places small, rigid accelerometers and/or gyroscopes on the heel cap or on the instep of the shoe. The purpose of this study was to validate a thin, conformable IMU sensor placed directly on the dorsal foot surface to determine foot strike angles and pattern. Participants (n = 12) ran on a treadmill with different foot strike patterns while videography and sensor data were captured. Sensor measures were compared against traditional 2D video analysis techniques and the results showed that the sensor was able to accurately (92.2% success) distinguish between rearfoot and non-rearfoot foot strikes using an angular velocity cut-off value of 0°/s. There was also a strong and significant correlation between sensor determined foot strike angle and foot strike angle determined from videography analysis (r = 0.868, p < 0.001), although linear regression analysis showed that the sensor underestimated the foot strike angle. Conformable sensors with the ability to attach directly to the human skin could improve the tracking of human dynamics and should be further explored.


foot strike pattern; inertial measurement unit; running; sensor

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