Risk factors for overuse injuries in runners
Recreational running is a popular choice of physical exercise, but it is also associated with high rates of musculoskeletal injuries.
There are numerous proposed causes of overuse injuries in running, including high forces applied to the lower limb, training history, injury history and physiological factors (e.g., lower limb flexibility and strength).
This 2-year prospective cohort study sought to find out which factors stood out between those who were injured compared with those uninjured.
The participants who entered the study were aged between 18-60, ran at least 5 miles per week and had no injury for 6 months prior to enrollment the study.
Pregnant women or those who had previously undergone knee surgery were excluded from the study. A series of data including demographic, training, physiological, biomechanical and psychosocial data were collected.
Over the course of 2 years, the most frequent location of first injury was the knee, followed by the foot, hip, ankle, leg, thigh, back and pelvis (in that order).
Synthesis of all the data revealed that:
- Women were more likely to incur an overuse injury than men;
- Greater knee stiffness demonstrated by participants with higher body weight was a significant predictor of injury.
At the same time, the study found that flexibility, foot arch height, Q-angle, rearfoot biomechanics, lower limb strength, weekly running distance, and history of previous injury weren't significant predictors of overuse injury in recreational runners.
> From: Messier et al., Am J Sports Med (2018) (Epub ahead of print). All rights reserved to The Author(s). Click here for the online summary.