Why Does Running Hurt Our Lower Limbs?

Love running, but keep getting leg injuries? That could be because the way we run focuses jogging’s hard impacts in our lower limbs.

In a light, half-hour run, the average recreational runner’s feet will strike the ground about 5000 times, absorbing shocks with every strike. Now Delphine Chadefaux at Aix-Marseille University in France and her team (2017) have used tracking techniques to study these vibrations in more detail than ever before (Science Daily, 2017; Sharman, 2017).

Analysing 10 recreational runners, they found that the foot absorbs the most energy from the impact of your foot hitting the ground, and a bit less goes into the shin bone and knee. By the time shocks reach the hip, they have almost entirely dispersed.

Chadefaux told a conference of the Acoustical Society of America in Boston last week that this suggests the way we use our muscles when we run is geared towards protecting the upper body from impacts.

She thinks understanding how the body does this might lead to ways to reduce shock in the lower part of the leg, and prevent common injuries such as stress fractures and joint problems.


Chadefaux, D., Berton, E. & Rao, G. (2017) How runners deal with the shock induced vibrations propagating through their body? The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 141(5), pp.3978. https://doi.org/10.1121/1.4989079.

Science Daily (2017) Biomechanical acoustics study sheds light on running injuries. Available from World Wide Web: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/06/170629143053.htm. [Accessed: 12 November, 2017].

Sharman, J. (2017) How human bodies are designed to make running tough on the legs. Available from World Wide Web: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/body-running-shoes-stress-legs-hips-delphine-chadefaux-study-injuries-shock-a7819296.html. [Accessed: 12 November, 2017].



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