Effect of Grade and Surface Type on Peak Tibial Acceleration in Trained Distance Runners

J Appl Biomech. 2021 Feb 1;37(1):2-5. doi: 10.1123/jab.2020-0096. Epub 2020 Oct 6.


Runners experience repeated impact forces during training, and the culmination of these forces can contribute to overuse injuries. The purpose of this study was to compare peak vertical tibial acceleration (TA) in trained distance runners on 3 surface types (grass, asphalt, and concrete) and 3 grades (incline, decline, and level). During visit 1, subjects completed a 1-mile time trial to determine their pace for all running trials: 80% (5%) of the average time trial velocity. During visit 2, subjects were outfitted with a skin-mounted accelerometer and performed 18 separate running trials during which peak TA was assessed during the stance phase. Each subject ran 2 trials for each condition with 2 minutes of rest between trials. Peak TA was different between decline (8.04 [0.12] g) and incline running (7.31 [0.35] g; P = .020). On the level grade, peak TA was greater during grass (8.22 [1.22] g) compared with concrete (7.47 [1.65] g; P = .017). On the incline grade, grass (7.68 [1.44] g) resulted in higher peak TA than asphalt (6.99 [1.69] g; P = .030). These results suggest that under certain grade conditions grass may result in higher TA compared with either concrete or asphalt.

Keywords: asphalt; concrete; grass; impact acceleration; skin-mounted accelerometers.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Accelerometry
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Construction Materials
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrocarbons
  • Male
  • Poaceae
  • Running / physiology*
  • Tibia*
  • Young Adult


  • Hydrocarbons
  • asphalt