Recreational and competitive running is practised by many individuals to improve cardiorespiratory function and general well-being. The major negative aspect of running is the high rate of injuries to the lower extremities. Several well-designed population-based studies have found no major differences in injury rates between men and women; no increasing effect of age on injuries; a declining injury rate with more years of running experience; no substantial effect of weight or height; an uncertain effect of psychological factors; and a strong effect of previous injury on future injuries. Among the modifiable risk factors studied, weekly distance is the strongest predictor of future injuries. Other training characteristics (speed, frequency, surface, timing) have little or no effect on future injuries after accounting for distance run. More studies are needed to address the effects of appropriate stretching practices and abrupt change in training patterns. For recreational runners who have sustained injuries, especially within the past year, a reduction in running to below 32 km per week is recommended. For those about to begin a running programme, moderation is the best advice. For competitive runners, great care should be taken to ensure that prior injuries are sufficiently healed before attempting any racing event, particularly a marathon.