Use of audio biofeedback to reduce tibial impact accelerations during running

J Biomech. 2014 May 7;47(7):1739-41. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2014.03.008. Epub 2014 Mar 14.


Visual biofeedback of tibial peak positive acceleration (PPA) during running has been used successfully as a method of gait retraining to reduce PPAs. Audio biofeedback generated from PPA may present a novel, portable alternative. The purpose of this study was to investigate the feasibility of using PPA-generated audio biofeedback to reduce PPAs while running. Nine runners were fitted with a wireless accelerometer on their left tibia. PPAs were recorded and a custom LabVIEW program was used to emit a single beep once the PPA reached a preset threshold. The numerical difference between this threshold and peak PPA during running was scaled to the pitch of the beep, such that a foot strike with greater PPA would result in a beep with higher pitch. Subjects were then instructed to (1) run without any beeps, and/or (2) keep the pitch of the beep as low as possible. Subjects participated in a single testing session that included a five minute warm-up and two rounds of biofeedback, which consisted of five minutes of running with biofeedback followed by five minutes of running without biofeedback. Subjects were able to significantly reduce PPAs during exposure to audio biofeedback. In addition, two rounds of biofeedback were sufficient for subjects to retain a reduction in PPAs without biofeedback. PPA-generated audio biofeedback therefore appears to be a feasible method of gait retraining to reduce PPAs in runners.

Keywords: Accelerometer; Biomechanics; Injury; Sonification.

MeSH terms

  • Acceleration
  • Adult
  • Feedback, Sensory*
  • Female
  • Gait / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Running / physiology*
  • Tibia / physiology*
  • Young Adult