Suspected mechanisms in the cause of overuse running injuries: a clinical review

Sports Health. 2009 May;1(3):242-6. doi: 10.1177/1941738109334272.


Context: Various epidemiological studies have estimated that up to 70% of runners sustain an overuse running injury each year. Although few overuse running injuries have an established cause, more than 80% of running-related injuries occur at or below the knee, which suggests that some common mechanisms may be at work. The question then becomes, are there common mechanisms related to overuse running injuries?

Evidence acquisition: RESEARCH STUDIES WERE IDENTIFIED VIA THE FOLLOWING ELECTRONIC DATABASES: MEDLINE, EMBASE PsycInfo, and CINAHL (1980-July 2008). Inclusion was based on evaluation of risk factors for overuse running injuries.

Results: A majority of the risk factors that have been researched over the past few years can be generally categorized into 2 groups: atypical foot pronation mechanics and inadequate hip muscle stabilization.

Conclusion: Based on the review of literature, there is no definitive link between atypical foot mechanics and running injury mechanisms. The lack of normative data and a definition of typical foot structure has hampered progress. In contrast, a large and growing body of literature suggests that weakness of hip-stabilizing muscles leads to atypical lower extremity mechanics and increased forces within the lower extremity while running.

Keywords: cause; injuries; prevention; running.