Musculoskeletal injury in the masters runners

Clin J Sport Med. 2006 Mar;16(2):149-54. doi: 10.1097/00042752-200603000-00011.


Objective: To determine if injury patterns and risk factors for injury differ between masters and younger runners.

Design: Retrospective survey.

Setting: Hood to Coast running relay, Oregon, USA.

Participants: A total of 2886 runners consented to participate and completed the survey. Ninety-four (2712/2886) percent completed the survey electronically and 6% (174/2886) manually. Master runners (>or=40 years) made up 34% of the population.

Intervention: The survey was distributed to all participants in the largest running relay in North America. Runners reported on training patterns, injury location, and diagnosis over the previous year.

Main outcome measures: Descriptive statistics and chi analysis were used to detect differences in injury rate and location between masters and younger runners. Multivariate logistic regression models were used to identify risk factors for injury for each group.

Results: The injury rate for the entire population was 46%. Significantly more masters runners were injured than younger runners (P<0.05). More masters runners suffered multiple injuries than younger runners (P<0.001). Significantly more masters runners were male, had 7 or more years of running experience, run more than 30 miles/wk, 6 or more times/week and wear orthotics than younger runners (P<0.001). The knee and foot were the most common locations of injury for both groups. The prevalence of soft-tissue-type injuries to the calf, achilles, and hamstrings was greater in masters runners than their younger counterparts (P<0.001). Younger runners suffered more knee and leg injuries than masters runners (P<0.005). Running more times/wk increased the risk of injury for both groups.

Conclusions: There were subtle differences in injury rate and location between masters runners and younger runners, which may reflect differences in training intensity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leg Injuries / diagnosis
  • Leg Injuries / epidemiology
  • Lower Extremity / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Musculoskeletal System / injuries*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Running / injuries*