Arch structure and injury patterns in runners

Clin Biomech (Bristol, Avon). 2001 May;16(4):341-7. doi: 10.1016/s0268-0033(01)00005-5.


Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine if high-arched and low-arched runners exhibit different injury patterns.

Design: Non-randomized, two-group injury survey.

Background: Running-related injuries are thought to be related, in part, to lower extremity structure. High-arched and low-arched runners with their different bony architecture may exhibit very different lower extremity mechanics and, consequently, different injury patterns. It was hypothesized that high-arched runners will exhibit a greater incidence of lateral injuries, skeletal injuries and knee injuries while low-arched runners will show a greater incidence of medial injuries, soft tissue injuries and foot injuries.

Methods: Twenty high-arched and 20 low-arched runners were included in this study. Running-related injuries were recorded and divided into injury patterns of medial/lateral, bony/soft tissue and knee/foot and ankle for both high-arched and low-arched runners. A chi(2) analysis was then employed in an attempt to associate injury patterns with arch structure.

Results: High-arched runners reported a greater incidence of ankle injuries, bony injuries and lateral injuries. Low-arched runners exhibited more knee injuries, soft tissue injuries and medial injuries.

Conclusions: Based on these results, high and low arch structure is associated with different injury patterns in runners. Relevance. Different injury patterns are present in individuals with extreme high arches when compared to those with extremely low arches. These relationships may lead to improved treatment and intervention strategies for runners based on their predisposing foot structure.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Female
  • Foot / anatomy & histology*
  • Foot Injuries / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • Running / injuries*