April 24th, 2024

OnTracx Launches a Tool to Prevent and Rehabilitate Running Injuries

More than half of all runners experience overloading at least once a year, often resulting in running injuries. With the OnTracx app and the wearable sensor based on Movesense, you can now easily measure your load and thus reduce the risk of injury, or speed up rehabilitation.

— We developed algorithms to correctly measure the load on the body, since excessive load is the biggest risk factor for running injuries, says Rud Derie, co-founder of OnTracx, a recently founded spin-off from Ghent University, Belgium.

— Moreover, running load is invisible to the naked eye and is highly individual. Until recently, this could only be measured in very expensive and specialized laboratories. With our solution, you can now record and monitor this in your own private setting. It’s an important step in preventing and rehabilitating injuries, Derie continues.

The product consists of a wearable, Movesense-powered sensor that is attached above the ankle, an app, and a platform that keeps track of the data. The application displays information about each running session and calculates and visualizes the accumulated total load. A chart shows the strain caused by running on the body and its changes. This allows runners to monitor the load, give the body time to adapt to the increased load, and reduce the risk of running injuries.

— Most wearables on the market are aimed at improving performance and don’t take into account the injury risk aspect, or provide so much data that users can’t make sense of it anymore, explains Senne Bonnaerens, co-founder of OnTracx.

Reliable prevention on running injuries

Measuring and controlling the mechanical load on runners’ bodies is what OnTracx is all about. The company aims at becoming the most reliable player in this market.

— Typical running analyses look at how a person runs. However, we know by now that most problems arise from an imbalance between how much a runner’s body is loaded and what it can handle. And that is not determined solely by how you run. The problem is that most people have no idea of how much they are loading their body, and how to build this up properly so that their body can recover in time, adds Derie.

— For example, we went recently running together and found out that one of us loaded himself 40% more than the other, says Senne Bonnaerens. This can be explained by a combination of factors such as running style, footwear, running surface and how the body processes the impact forces. Until now it wasn’t possible to determine such factors in an outdoor environment and take them into account in training planning and management. This is now changing with OnTracx.

Senne Bonnaerens previously worked as a Ghent University researcher before he co-founded OnTracx.

— In my PhD, I investigated the influence of different running styles on the load on the body. When my colleague Rud Derie told me that he was going to take the plunge and start a spin-off, I almost literally raised my hand to indicate that I was also interested in that. And so the story began.

From a research project to spin-off

Among various promising running-related research projects within the Sport Science Laboratory Jacques Rogge in Ghent, this potential spin-off was at the top of the list of business developer and sports technology expert Kristof De Mey. The Industrial Research Fund of Ghent University, to which De Mey is affiliated, believed in the spin-off’s potential as well. After the necessary agreements with the university’s Tech Transfer Office, he started the entrepreneurial process with the two researchers.

— We want to go to market quickly to learn from our users. Scientific insights have taken us far, and we will continue to focus on that. However, our goal is to effectively solve a problem that affects millions of people. The technology can make this possible in the long term, especially if we also consider the specific needs and requirements of our target group.

The company has already received funding from imec.istart and the Bluehealth Innovation Fund, and also started the corresponding acceleration program at the beginning of this year. Additionally, OnTracx has received support from several private investors.

Put the runner in the center

The technology will soon be available for both individual runners and the professionals guiding them, such as physiotherapists, coaches, podiatrists, and sports doctors. Furthermore, OnTracx has started collaborations with shoe stores and sports medical centers.

— Even some running shoe and sole manufacturers have already shown interest. But whatever we do, we will keep the runner at the heart of the equation, the team assures.

OnTracx plans to expand the solution by integrating it with existing products such as sports watches and running apps. They also continue making the system even more intelligent and personal by integrating the already available information into the underlying platform and the accompanying app.

Movesense team congratulates OnTracx and wishes a big success for the new solution – both as business partners and runners.

Read more on OnTracx website.

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