Understanding Impact Forces
So HOW DOES our body handle those dreaded impact forces whenever our foot hits the ground. That’s roughly 750 to 800 times on each foot per mile, if you haven’t counted lately! 🙂
Have you ever thought about this? It’s important stuff, right?
If you consider how many runners suffer from overuse injury and also run slower due to energy leaks…then you can see how important the moment is when your foot hits the ground!
So, IF I asked you how you believe your body perceives impact forces each time you land, what would you say?
If you’re like the majority of folks I’ve asked, you’d say pressure.
And that makes sense, right? Thinking of it logically, there’s our old friend gravity pushing down on our body, increasing the pressure as we contact the ground. So that’s how we “perceive” it. Yup, makes sense.
Now going further, if you’re an educated runner (and there are plenty reading this who are educated!) who has a good understanding of running biomechanics, you might also say that our body relies on the eccentric strength of our leg muscles AND optimal joint mobility to “absorb” that impact.
I can honestly admit I’ve emphasized that over the years when speaking with runners about injury and speed. And there is some truth to it.
But it isn’t the whole truth, and it doesn’t tell the whole (or most important) story. Our collective increasing understanding of our bodies and our fascial system has helped enlighten us to what’s actually going on.
So how does our body perceive impact forces? The answer is: as vibration.
About 80% of all the small nerve proprioceptors in our foot are sensitive to vibration, making it the most important stimulus for how we perceive impact.
Now, this whole dealio could get complex really fast, and that’s not my goal.