Studies seeking to determine the effects of gait retraining through biofeedback on peak tibial acceleration (PTA) assume that this biometric trait is a valid measure of impact loading that is reliable both within and between sessions. However, reliability and validity data were lacking for axial and resultant PTAs along the speed range of over-ground endurance running. A wearable system was developed to continuously measure 3D tibial acceleration and to detect PTAs in real-time. Thirteen rearfoot runners ran at 2.55, 3.20 and 5.10 m·s-1 over an instrumented runway in two sessions with re-attachment of the system. Intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs) were used to determine within-session reliability. Repeatability was evaluated by paired T-tests and ICCs. Concerning validity, axial and resultant PTAs were correlated to the peak vertical impact loading rate (LR) of the ground reaction force. Additionally, speed should affect impact loading magnitude. Hence, magnitudes were compared across speeds by RM-ANOVA. Within a session, ICCs were over 0.90 and reasonable for clinical measurements. Between sessions, the magnitudes remained statistically similar with ICCs ranging from 0.50 to 0.59 for axial PTA and from 0.53 to 0.81 for resultant PTA. Peak accelerations of the lower leg segment correlated to LR with larger coefficients for axial PTA (r range: 0.64-0.84) than for the resultant PTA per speed condition. The magnitude of each impact measure increased with speed. These data suggest that PTAs registered per stand-alone system can be useful during level, over-ground, rearfoot running to evaluate impact loading in the time domain when force platforms are unavailable in studies with repeated measurements.
Keywords: Impact; Running biomechanics; Tibial shock; Validation; Wearable.
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