Choosing Running Shoes

Picking out the best suited running shoe is a vital choice that the runner needs to make. As there are a couple of hundred distinct brands and models of athletic shoes out there, this is simply not exactly an uncomplicated selection to make. Each of those models of athletic shoes include different design properties which need to be matched up to the foot shape, running form as well as experiences of the runner. It is broadly thought to be an essential decision which needs to be made and was previously one of the most expensive choices that a runner will have to make (now the wearable technology to track runners’ costs more than athletic shoes). It is considered that from the improper choice of running footwear is made that this will predispose the runner for an greater risk for a running overuse injury.

The first bit of advice for any athlete is to stay with what they are acquainted with. If the running footwear that they’re currently making use of is doing the job, then there is no reason in switching these. Unfortunately, the running footwear brands do usually tend to modify or improve their athletic shoes designs from year upon year, making this not always possible. If a particular running shoe model will modify a lot from what a runner is used to, you can find usually quite a few other running shoes that might be comparable to which can be selected from. The important thing should be to persist with what you’re familiar with and used to running in. That will not be feasible for those that are a newcomer to running. These new runners really should go to a speciality running shoe retailer and get good quality guidance as to what is a great entry level running shoe for first time runners.

The second piece of advice is to get the fit appropriate. Various running footwear versions can be found in different widths, so finding a running shoe that is the appropriate width for the feet are essential for comfort reasons and to steer clear of such things as blisters. The length is required to be correct to steer clear of issues such as injury to the toe nails. The footwear should really be longer than the foot by approximately a thumbs width. Various running footwear brands make use of various lasts that the footwear is made on. This affects the design of the upper of the shoe and it will take a bit of experimentation to discover a running shoe type that the upper which accurately matches the shape of the foot.

The third bit of advice is usually that the running footwear have to be comfortable. This tends to have a sizeable effect and how you are feeling on runs, especially the longer runs. A less than comfortable running shoe is going to make the run to some degree unpleasant. This is where running shoe stores which have a treadmill can be worth their weight in gold. This lets you have a brief jog or run to see how the shoes feel. It is advisable to note not just how the footwear feels but additionally the way you react to the running shoe when you contact the ground and when you press forward on the running shoe.

College Football Players Underestimate Risk of Injury and Concussion

College football players may underestimate their risk of injury and concussion, according to a new study published today in JAMA Network Open.

Christine Baugh, PhD, MPH, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and member of the CU Center for Bioethics and Humanities, is the corresponding author of the article, “Accuracy of US College Football Players’ Estimates of Their Risk of Concussion or Injury.”

Baugh and co-authors report on survey results of 296 college football players from four teams in the Power 5 Conferences of the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Athletes were surveyed in 2017. The researchers found that between 43 percent and 91 percent of respondents underestimated their risk of injury and between 42 percent and 63 percent underestimated their risk of concussion.

To measure the accuracy of football players’ risk estimations, the researchers modeled individual athletes’ probabilities of sustaining a concussion or injury and compared model estimates to athlete perceptions. While recognizing that many people underestimate health risks, the authors point out that the risks college football athletes face may be more severe or debilitating than those faced by many in the general population. Given this elevated risk profile, they say it is concerning that athletes tend to underestimate the likelihood of these risks. These results raise questions about informed consent and how much risk should be acceptable in the context of a game, Baugh and her co-authors write.

“That athletes underestimated their risk of concussion and injury in this study raises important ethical considerations,” Baugh and her colleagues write. “What is the threshold for college athletes to be sufficiently informed of the risks and benefits of football to make decisions that align with their values and preferences?”

In addition to Baugh, four co-authors are listed. Those authors are affiliated with the University of Washington, the Seattle Children’s Research Institute, Boston Children’s Hospital, and Harvard Medical School, where Baugh completed a Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Mental Health Policy prior to joining the CU School of Medicine.

RunEASI wearable enables runners to train and rehabilitate more efficiently

The wearable is worn around the waist.

Being able to exercise without pain or injury: it’s every athlete’s dream as well as the goal of RunEASI, a new spin-off of KU Leuven. RunEASI’s wearable measures the impact experienced by runners and provides scientific feedback that can help them avoid and recover from injuries. The spin-off is supported by the Gemma Frisius Fund and the Freshmen investment fund.

Runners typically use a heart rate monitor, but this device does not offer insight into how the body responds to the impact caused by the feet landing on the ground. And yet, this impact is precisely what determines the risk of injuries. RunEASI – which originated from a collaboration between movement and computer scientists at KU Leuven – has therefore developed a wearable application that does assess these important parameters.

This is achieved using a sensor that is attached to the lower back with a belt and is connected to an app. The sensors measures the impact on the body while running and detects any movement compensations that may occur. The app provides feedback to improve the running pattern. RunEASI is the first application that can perform such an analysis and intervention in a scientifically validated and efficient way. The application will be available on the market as of mid-February 2021.

Stability, symmetry, impact

“We are trying to establish the link between the way in which someone runs, the associated impact loads, and the risk of injuries,” says Professor Benedicte Vanwanseele from the Human Movement Biomechanics unit at KU Leuven. “Three parameters are key to this: stability, symmetry, and impact.”

“Research has shown that trunk instability increases with a runner’s fatigue level. When this is combined with high impact loads, this creates a compensatory pattern that increases the risk of overuse injuries. Symmetry shows whether the impact is equally divided between left and right: after an injury, for instance, a runner may favour one leg without realising it. Last, but not least, the impact parameter shows how the body responds to the shocks that occur when the foot strikes the ground.”

“Our tool intervenes when the data show that the runner has a harmful running pattern,” says computer science professor Jesse Davis. “AI allows us to analyse when the body is exposed to the most severe impacts. This can depend on the surface, the pace, the duration of the training, the runner’s fatigue, and other factors. On the basis of this analysis, coaches and physiotherapists can proactively adjust the runners’ training.”

More insight and better support

“With RunEASI we want to help runners, whether it be professional or recreational ones, to achieve their goals with less risk of injury,” explain co-founders Kurt Schütte (CEO) and Tim Op De Beéck (CTO). “The way our sensor is attached is unique and was developed in cooperation with the orthopaedic experts at Steunzoolpunt. It enables us to measure our new movement metrics very efficiently and accurately. Physiotherapists can use this scientific analysis to better assess when someone is ready to resume training after an injury.”

“We strongly believe in digital tools that improve a person’s quality of life, and this ambition is also reflected in RunEASI,” says Steven Spittaels of the Freshmen investment fund. “It’s an application that, thanks to its scientific feedback, can be of great added value to runners and professional healthcare providers. Athletes obviously want to know how to stay injury free and we want to support RunEASI to help them achieve this.”

“We are extremely grateful for the belief and financial support of the Gemma Frisius Fund and Freshmen Fund,” responds CEO Kurt Schütte. “With their support, we can fulfil our mission and ambition to make the world run better.”

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More information

The RunEASI wearable can be pre-ordered and will be available as of mid-February 2021. Check the website for further information: runeasi.ai

Football-loving states slow to enact youth concussion laws

Media Release:

PULLMAN, Wash. – States with college teams in strong conferences, in particular the Southeastern Conference (SEC), were among the last to take up regulations on youth concussions, according to a recent study. The study, which investigated the association between youth sport participation and passage of concussion legislation, uncovered the importance of SEC affiliation, and found a similar connection in states with high rates of high school football participation.

In contrast, states with higher gender equality, measured by the number of women in the labor force, were early adopters.

Washington State University sociologists Thomas Rotolo and Michael Lengefeld, a recent WSU Ph.D. now at Goucher College, analyzed the wave of youth concussion laws from 2007 to 2014, specifically looking at return-to-play guidelines: a mandated 24-hour wait period before sending a player with a possible concussion back on to the field.

“We explored a lot of different ways of measuring college football presence, and the thing that just kept standing out was SEC membership,” said Rotolo, the lead author on the study published in the journal Social Science & Medicine. “Every college town thinks they have a strong college football presence, but the SEC is a very unique conference.”

Co-author Lengefeld, a former high school football player from Texas, knows first-hand how important the sport is throughout the South, but the data showed a specific correlation between resistance to youth concussion regulations among SEC states in particular.

“This SEC variable was similar to the South effect, but not all southern states have an SEC school–and in SEC states the resistance to concussion laws was a bit stronger,” he said.

Lengefeld added that the SEC also stands out since it has the largest number of viewers and brings in more profits than any other conference.

Scientists have known for more than a century that youth concussions were a serious health issue, but the movement to create concussion health policies for youth sports did not gain any ground until a Washington state middle school player was badly injured. In 2006, Zackery Lystedt was permanently disabled after being sent back onto the field following a concussion. The Seattle Seahawks took up the cause in the state, followed by the NFL which took the issue nationwide.

Even though the NFL advocated for youth concussion policy changes, the states responded differently. Washington state, Oregon and New Mexico were among the first to adopt the new return-to-play guidelines, while states like Georgia and Mississippi were among the last.

“There’s clearly something culturally going on that was different in those states,” said Lengefeld.

The researchers also investigated the role of gender equity in concussion adoption since football is often viewed as hyper-masculine. They used women’s participation in the labor market as a rough indicator of a state’s gender egalitarian views and found a statistically significant difference showing that states with higher levels of women’s labor market participation enacted the concussion legislation more quickly.

Lengefeld said the methodology they used in this study can also be applied to analyze how many other health policies are enacted across different states.

“As we were submitting this research for publication, COVID-19 was just starting, and we noticed all the differences in the way states are behaving,” Lengefeld said. “It’s not new for sociologists to study the diffusion of laws at the state level, but this is another way of doing that that incorporates a set of ideas about culture.”

Racket Sports May Worsen Knee Arthritis

Press Release:

OAK BROOK, Ill. — Racket sports like tennis and racquetball appear to accelerate knee joint degeneration in overweight people with osteoarthritis, according to a study being presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

Knee joint osteoarthritis, a gradual wearing down of the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones, is a major cause of pain and disability worldwide, affecting approximately 14 million people in the U.S. alone. Excess body weight is a major risk factor.

Physical activity offers a host of benefits for people who are overweight, but the wrong type of exercise could potentially damage knee joints and hasten the need for knee replacement surgery. The effects of different types of exercise on overweight people have seldom been studied with MRI, the most sensitive imaging method for assessing structural changes to the knee joint.

For the new study, researchers used high-powered MRI to assess the rate of degeneration of the knee joint in 415 overweight and/or obese patients, average age 59, drawn from the Osteoarthritis Initiative, a National Institutes of Health-supported study of individuals with mild to moderate osteoarthritis.

Study participants kept detailed records of their participation in six different types of physical activity, including ball sports, bicycling, jogging/running, elliptical trainer, racket sports and swimming. The researchers performed baseline MRIs and then measured changes in the patients’ knees over four years using the modified Whole-Organ Magnetic Resonance Imaging Score (WORMS). A higher score indicates more degeneration.

Patients regularly participating in racket sports saw their overall WORMS score increase significantly, compared to patients regularly using the elliptical trainer over the study period. Surprisingly, the overall WORMS score also increased significantly in the racket sports group compared to the jogging/running group. Racket sports participants saw significantly greater degeneration in the medial tibial cartilage compartment, the compartment on the inside of the knee where arthritis often first appears.

Participants using the elliptical trainer showed the smallest changes in structural degeneration over four years.

“In our study, progression of overall knee joint degeneration was consistently higher in overweight and/or obese patients engaging in racket sports,” said the study’s lead author Silvia Schirò, M.D., from the University of California San Francisco and the University of Parma in Parma, Italy. “We also found that workouts using an elliptical trainer were associated with reduced progression of overall knee joint and cartilage defects. Moreover, our findings showed that when comparing different low impact activities with each other, such as bicycling, elliptical trainer and swimming, the elliptical trainer was associated with the lowest increase in WORMS sub-scores over 48 months.”

The more rapid degeneration of the knee joints in people who participated in racket sports is likely due to the high-speed lateral movements inherent to such sports, Dr. Schirò said. These movements can affect the femoral-tibia compartment, a structure in the knee made up of the femur condyle, the rounded end of the thighbone that helps it slide over the tibia, or shinbone, and the meniscus, the rubbery, C-shaped cartilage between the thighbone and the shinbone.

“A large lateral force imparted at the foot during side-to-side movements may be driving large knee adduction moments, a key feature in medial compartment disease, which imparts high compressive loads on the medial tibia and femoral condyle,” she said. “In support of this premise, the racket sports group showed elevated cartilage degeneration in the medial tibia.”

The researchers theorize that joint mechanics are impaired in overweight and obese individuals, with a harmful joint overload triggering increased contact stress on the meniscus. Damage to the meniscus compromises the protective cushion on the cartilage of the knee.

“High impact physical activity with elevated load and high shear forces may trigger and accelerate this process,” Dr. Schirò said. “Moreover, participants who played racket sports showed significantly more meniscal degeneration when compared to the remainder of the study group.”

The data suggests that overweight individuals who continue to play racket sports could slow degeneration in their knees by making modifications to their activities, such as switching to sports with less fast-paced and high shear loads like badminton or doubles tennis.

However, Dr. Schirò emphasized that the degenerative process is complex and individual joint mechanics are highly variable.

“It is possible that some individuals with sufficient strength and motor control may be able to safely play these sports,” she said. “Our data suggests that as a group, though, overweight and obese individuals who play racket sports are at higher risk for disease progression.”

Co-authors are Sarah C. Foreman, M.D., Magdalena Posadzy, M.D., Gabby B. Joseph, Nicola Sverzellati, M.D., Richard B. Souza, Ph.D., Charles E. McCulloch, Michael C. Nevitt, Ph.D., and Thomas M. Link, M.D., Ph.D.