Peak tibial acceleration should not be used as indicator of tibial bone loading during running

Marit A. Zandbergen*, Xanthe J. Ter Wengel, Robbert P. van Middelaar, Jaap H. Buurke, Peter H. Veltink, Jasper Reenalda

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
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Peak tibial acceleration (PTA) is a widely used indicator of tibial bone loading. Indirect bone loading measures are of interest to reduce the risk of stress fractures during running. However, tibial compressive forces are caused by both internal muscle forces and external ground reaction forces. PTA might reflect forces from outside the body, but likely not the compressive force from muscles on the tibial bone. Hence, the strength of the relationship between PTA and maximum tibial compression forces in rearfoot-striking runners was investigated. Twelve runners ran on an instrumented treadmill while tibial acceleration was captured with accelerometers. Force plate and inertial measurement unit data were spatially aligned with a novel method based on the centre of pressure crossing a virtual toe marker. The correlation coefficient between maximum tibial compression forces and PTA was 0.04 ± 0.14 with a range of −0.15 to +0.28. This study showed a very weak and non-significant correlation between PTA and maximum tibial compression forces while running on a level treadmill at a single speed. Hence, PTA as an indicator for tibial bone loading should be reconsidered, as PTA does not provide a complete picture of both internal and external compressive forces on the tibial bone.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
JournalSports Biomechanics
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print/First online - 16 Jan 2023


  • Accelerometer
  • Bone stress injury
  • Compression forces
  • Inertial measurement unit
  • Injury risk
  • Running biomechanics


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