Triathlon related musculoskeletal injuries: the status of injury prevention knowledge

J Sci Med Sport. 2008 Jul;11(4):396-406. doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2007.07.009. Epub 2007 Sep 17.


Triathlon is a popular participation sport that combines swimming, cycling and running into a single event. A number of studies have investigated the incidence of injury, profile of injuries sustained and factors contributing to triathlon injury. This paper summarises the published literature in the context of the evidence base for the prevention of triathlon related injuries. Relevant articles on triathlon injuries were sourced from peer-reviewed English language journals and assessed using the Translating Research into Injury Prevention Practice (TRIPP) framework. This review highlights the significant knowledge gap that exists in the published literature describing the incidence of injury, the profile of injuries sustained and evidence for the prevention of injury in triathlon. Despite the number of studies undertaken to address TRIPP Stages 1 and 2 (injury surveillance, aetiology and mechanism of injury), most triathlon studies have been limited by retrospective designs with substantial, and unvalidated, recall periods, inconsistency in the definitions used for a reportable injury and exposure to injury, or a failure to capture exposure data at all. Overall, the paucity of quality, prospective studies investigating the incidence of injury in triathlon and factors contributing to their occurrence has led to an inability to adequately inform the development of injury prevention strategies (TRIPP Stages 3-6) for this sport, a situation that must be rectified if gains are to be made in reducing the burden of triathlon related injury.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology
  • Athletic Injuries / prevention & control*
  • Bicycling / injuries*
  • Cumulative Trauma Disorders / epidemiology
  • Cumulative Trauma Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / epidemiology
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Risk Factors
  • Running / injuries*
  • Swimming / injuries*