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Leg stiffness and damping factors as a function of running speed

Walker, C.A. and Blair, R. (2002) Leg stiffness and damping factors as a function of running speed. Sports Engineering, 5 (3). pp. 129-140. ISSN 1369-7072

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Abstract

McMahon and Greene showed, in 1979, that it is possible to design a running track with a compliance that will reduce the shock loading on the legs of the athletes, and yet will enable them to return fast times. Since then, attempts have been made to find a combination of properties in a running shoe that would achieve the same ends. The extent to which the stiffness of the midsole may be reduced is limited by the need for the athlete's ankle to maintain a high degree of stability. On the other hand, it has been predicted from modelling studies that the damping properties of running shoe midsoles may be controlled to reduce the impact shock that is imparted to each leg of a runner, as the heel strikes the ground at the initiation of the contact phase.