A proper running technique focusing on every step can help an athlete increase efficiency while preventing injury. Specifically, how the foot strikes the ground can affect performance, comfort, and even pain following an exercise routine.
Engineers at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University have developed an electronic insole that is able to sense the pressure on the feet on every step, displaying and recording the data continuously to help improve a runner’s gait and to help prevent injury.
The new insole can be used in pairs to provide info on both feet at the same time. Each insole has a set of sensors that recognize which part of the foot each step lands on and whether the forefoot strikes the ground too excessively. A paired app displays the information, updating with every step, allowing the user to quickly modify one’s running style.
While this may be of particular interest to professional runners, its true benefit may be realized on those recovering from injury or surgery, such as those with a repaired Achiles tendons who should avoid excessive forefoot strikes.
Some of the benefits of the new smart insole according to Honk Kong Poly:
- High accuracy – cross-validated with laboratory-based equipment
- Low cost when compared to motion capturing device (< 1/10000) or pressure sensors (< less than 1/1000)
- Continuous outdoor monitoring
- Real-time information and feedback for users to adjust their footstrike pattern accordingly