What many fail realize is health care professionals really have no way of looking at data for runners and determine why some get one injury versus another and what are causing these injuries. Sure we can blame overpronation but does it truly lead to injury? And, if so, what types of injury? It’s easy for a runner to say “I get heel pain” or I suffer from shin splints” because I have flat feet. But do they really have flat feet? I see patients in my practice everyday who proclaim to have had flat feet their entire life but in all actuality do not. They were either misinformed or self diagnosed themselves because our society has become so fixated on flat feet.
Here are two devices that could produce some fascinating findings for the simple fact that they’ll be able to create databases by uploading the results of every runner who chooses to wear one of them. Patterns for injuries can now be tracked because one will have the ability to review subsets of data and see what common traits are associated with various injuries. This has really never been done in large numbers.
Read about these new devices below!!
Sept. 22, 2014 6:35 p.m. ET
Two new running-related gadgets aim to go beyond counting steps and miles to measure elements of a runner’s gait—such as cadence, foot-strike pattern and landing forces. Their inventors hope runners will use the data to spot patterns, improve performance and prevent injury, a paramount goal in a sport that researchers say injures roughly half of its participants each year.
Sensoria, a sock-and-anklet combination, and RunScribe, a clip-on tracking unit, were designed to provide the kind of data that until recently runners could only get by being wired up and analyzed at a specialty clinic. Sensoria is geared toward immediate feedback, while RunScribe promises a deeper look at running stats after the run is over.
Cost: $149 for a pair of socks, anklet and app; Cost expected to go up to $199 at end of October
Release date: Shipping after Oct. 1 for online orders
Weight: Less than one ounce
Sensoria consists of a pair of socks woven with textile sensors and a half-moon anklet that attaches to the front of one sock with magnets. The socks and anklet feed data to a mobile-phone app via Bluetooth wireless technology about a runner’s cadence, foot-landing position and weight distribution. Sensoria has no memory, meaning runners must take a smartphone with them to record data.
Socks made by Sensoria are woven with sensors to measure foot motion.
Sensoria co-founder and chief executive Davide Vigano says the phone’s advantage is that it provides real-time feedback and coaching. A runner trying to take more and shorter steps, thought by some experts to minimize pounding forces on the body, can follow a metronome on the app set to his desired steps a minute.
Sensoria’s downside: The founders recommend washing the socks in cold water and air-drying them, so frequent runners might feel the need to buy extras: $59 for three pairs.
Cost: To be determined, but the pre-order price online is $149
Release date: January 2015
Weight: Just over half an ounce
This lemon drop-sized gadget clips to the back of a shoe and promises the most advanced set of running measurements available outside a professional lab. It tracks 13 metrics including details about pronation and supination, or the foot’s sideways roll, something not yet available on the Sensoria system.
A lemon drop-sized gadget called RunScribe tracks 13 running metrics. ENLARGE
A lemon drop-sized gadget called RunScribe tracks 13 running metrics. runScribe and Sensoria
The device unit has its own memory, so there is no need to carry a phone. The downside is that runners have to wait for feedback, accessing information after syncing RunScribe wirelessly with a computer or mobile device. Displays include a pinwheel-style graphic summary of the stress from a run, including impact forces and ground-contact time.
The Apple Watch to be released next year will connect to apps via Bluetooth. Eventually, that will make it possible for RunScribe users to track data as they run, says RunScribe co-founder Tim Clark.
The most intriguing aspect of these gadgets is their potential to build databases based on actual runners. Little widespread information exists about running’s basic mechanics and effects, despite its popularity, which surged past 54 million U.S. participants last year, according to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association.
Databases could allow users to see which running styles are associated with reported injuries.