AirTalk for December 17, 2013

Designing running shoes to prevent injury

Virgin London Marathon 2012

Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Runners pass Westminster during the Virgin London Marathon 2012 London, England.

It’s easy to sustain injuries or re-aggravate old ones if you are an avid runner. Researchers in Europe are hoping that some instant feedback would help runners improve their techniques and keep them from getting hurt.

Researchers with the RUNSAFER project at the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany, in partnership with other universities and a shoe manufacturer, are building a running shoe that has sensors to transmit data to a smartphone and then to a computer.   

The shoes will collect data such as foot speed at when a runner’s foot hits the ground, which allows software to determine if a runner’s gait is correct. The RUNSAFER project is one of several efforts to create a smarter running shoe.  

While experiments are still being conducted, it is reported that the shoes could be in stores within 2 years. Have you ever suffered from a running injury that could have been prevented from this type of technology? Would you wear a smart running shoe? 

Guests:

Jay Dicharry, physical therapist and director of the REP biomechanics lab in Bend, Oregon. He’s also the author of the book, “Anatomy for Runners” (Skyhorse Publishing, 2012)    

Max  Prokopy, Director of University of Virginia’s Strength, Power, Endurance, Education, and Development Clinic (SPEED), which works with athletes to prevent injuries


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