The first thing I think of when I think of inventions I would like to see are science fiction inspired things like teleportation or time machines. So thinking of something a little more realistic was a challenge, but after getting off the phone with my dad it occurred to me that I would like Mr. Musk to invent a running shoe technology that would truly prevent knee pain in older runners.
My dad has recently become more and more into running in the last couple of years. In high school he ran track and he had remained active for a long time until family life and work became good distractions from going to the gym. Now in his fifties, he is making a comeback. He trains pretty frequently and has built up an impressive stamina. That is until a few months ago his knees started becoming increasingly sensitive and finally quite painful.
A lot of runner’s experience knee pain as a result of overuse, direct trauma, misalignment, weak thigh muscles, and problems with feet. The paradox is that by trying to implement a healthy lifestyle practice of exercise, runners are often sacrificing their joint health. The typical treatment is rest, but taking time off makes getting back into an exercise routine incredibly difficult, especially when the pain is bond to come back in a few weeks.
Typically a lot of emphasis is put on the footwear, as one of the main reasons for runner’s knee results from issues with the feet. In 2010, a study showed that compared to running barefoot, “running in conventional running shoes increases stress on the knee joints up to 38%.”The study indicates that the potential increase in joint stress is that the shoes increase joint torque, which is a “measure of how much a force causes the joint to rotate.”
While the study does not recommend switching to barefoot running for other reasons, it does call into question the current design of running shoes. I think that if Elon Musk could design a running shoe that prevents unnecessary damage to the feet and there for knee joints of runners, he would be able to help a lot of aging people maintain healthy lifestyles.
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