Foot accelerations are larger than tibia accelerations during sprinting when measured with inertial measurement units

Daniel J Glassbrook, Joel T Fuller, Jacqueline A Alderson, Tim L A Doyle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Accelerometers are often placed on the tibia to measure segmental accelerations, and external mechanical load during running. However, in applied sport settings it is sometimes preferable to place accelerometers on the dorsal foot to avoid tibial impact injuries. This study aimed to quantify the differences in accelerations measured at the dorsal foot compared with the distal tibia during running. Sixteen recreationally active participants performed a sprint protocol on a non-motorised treadmill. Accelerometers were positioned bilaterally on the medial tibia (TIBLeft and TIBRight), and bilateral dorsal foot surfaces (DORLeft and DORRight). Continuous acceleration signal waveform analysis was performed using one-dimensional statistical parametric mapping (1DSPM). Resultant accelerations were greater for DORLeft than TIBLeft for 60% of the gait cycle (p < 0.001) and greater for DORRight than TIBRight for 50% of the gait cycle (p < 0.003). The larger accelerations at the dorsal foot than the tibia can be explained by movement at the ankle joint, and the placement location relative to the hip. The dorsal foot location can be used to effectively measure accelerations and external mechanical load when it is not feasible to place the accelerometer on the tibia, however results between the two locations should not be compared.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)248-255
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Sports Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020


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