Study design: Descriptive correlational investigation.
Objectives: To assess the incidence of, and potential risk factors associated with, overuse injury in triathlon.
Background: The sport of triathlon is rapidly increasing in popularity with a concomitant rise in the prevalence of injuries sustained by triathletes.
Methods and measures: The training and injury patterns of 131 triathletes were surveyed over a 10-week prospective period during the triathlon competition season. A complementary retrospective 6-month analysis of training history and prior overuse injuries was conducted.
Results: Fifty percent of triathletes sustained an injury in the 6-month preseason at an injury exposure rate of 2.5 per 1000 training hours. Thirty-seven percent were injured during the 10-week competition season at an injury exposure rate of 4.6 per 1000 training hours. Overuse accounted for 68% of preseason and 78% of competition season injuries reported. Increased years of triathlon experience, high running mileage, history of previous injury, and inadequate warming-up and cooling-down regimes appeared to have individual associations with injury incidence. When interactions were included in a multiple logistic regression model, increasing years of triathlon experience was the most significant predictor of preseason injury risk and a previous history of injury and high preseason running mileage increased the risk of injury during the competition season.
Conclusions: The results indicate that in assessing triathletes, a full training and competition history is required by the sports clinician for a comprehensive assessment of the factors that may contribute to overuse injury.