Epidemiology of ankle and foot overuse injuries in sports: A systematic review

Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2013 Dec;23(6):669-86. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0838.2012.01509.x. Epub 2012 Jul 30.


Studies regarding ankle and foot overuse injuries are quite diverse in research methodology, data reporting, and outcomes. The aims of this systematic review were to analyze the methodology of published studies regarding ankle and foot overuse injuries in different sports disciplines and to summarize epidemiological data of ankle and foot overuse injuries. Four electronic databases, PubMed (MEDLINE), EMBASE, CINAHL, and SPORTDiscus(®) were systematically searched up to June 2011. A total of 89 articles on 23 sports disciplines were included in this review. Soccer, running, and gymnastics were the most frequently studied sports. Achilles tendinopathy, plantar fasciitis, and stress fracture were the most frequently studied injuries. Study design and reporting methods were heterogeneous. Most studies suffered from a weak methodology and poor reporting. The most common weaknesses were lack of a clear case definition, describing assessment procedures and reporting sample characteristics. Due to methodological heterogeneity of studies, inter-sports and intra-sports comparisons and meta-analysis were not possible. Methodology of most studies on incidence and prevalence of ankle and foot overuse injuries is insufficient. Based on the results, we recommend authors to clearly define cases, describe assessment procedures and report sample characteristics adequately.

Keywords: athletic injuries; fractures; incidence; overuse injuries; prevalence; stress; tendinopathy.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Achilles Tendon / injuries
  • Ankle Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Cumulative Trauma Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Fasciitis, Plantar / epidemiology
  • Foot Bones / injuries
  • Foot Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Fractures, Stress / epidemiology
  • Gymnastics / injuries
  • Humans
  • Running / injuries
  • Soccer / injuries
  • Tendinopathy / epidemiology