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Stress fractures and running wearables: The mistake that could mean injuries

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We are passionate about the world of movement and using technology to assist in the measurement and enhancement of quality of movement.

The multibillion-dollar wearables industry aims to save potential victims from this fate, but a Vanderbilt University engineering professor found a major problem: the devices are measuring the wrong thing.

Working with a local running club, an orthopedic specialist who advises the NFL Players Association and a team of Vanderbilt engineers, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering Karl Zelik discovered that sensors only measuring the impact of the foot hitting pavement – which is what virtually all of them do – tell users little about the forces on bones that lead to stress fractures. His research confirmed that the vast majority of force on the bone is actually from muscles contracting, not from the foot’s impact on the ground, a finding widely overlooked by both the wearables industry and many scientific studies.

Check out the video below to learn more: