Previous injuries and some training characteristics predict running-related injuries in recreational runners: a prospective cohort study

J Physiother. 2013 Dec;59(4):263-9. doi: 10.1016/S1836-9553(13)70203-0.


Questions: What is the incidence of running-related injuries (RRIs) in recreational runners? Which personal and training characteristics predict RRIs in recreational runners?

Design: Prospective cohort study.

Participants: A total of 200 recreational runners answered a fortnightly online survey containing questions about their running routine, races, and presence of RRI. These runners were followed-up for a period of 12 weeks.

Outcome measures: The primary outcome of this study was running-related injury. The incidence of injuries was calculated taking into account the exposure to running and was expressed by RRI/1000 hours. The association between potential predictive factors and RRIs was estimated using generalised estimating equation models.

Results: A total of 84 RRIs were registered in 60 (31%) of the 191 recreational runners who completed all follow-up surveys. Of the injured runners 30% (n=18/60) developed two or more RRIs, with 5/18 (28%) being recurrences. The incidence of RRI was 10 RRI/1000 hours of running exposure. The main type of RRI observed was muscle injuries (30%, n=25/84). The knee was the most commonly affected anatomical region (19%, n=16/84). The variables associated with RRI were: previous RRI (OR 1.88, 95% CI 1.01 to 3.51), duration of training although the effect was very small (OR 1.01, 95% CI 1.00 to 1.02), speed training (OR 1.46, 95% CI 1.02 to 2.10), and interval training (OR 0.61, 95% CI 0.43 to 0.88).

Conclusions: Physiotherapists should be aware and advise runners that past RRI and speed training are associated with increased risk of further RRI, while interval training is associated with lower risk, although these associations may not be causative.

Keywords: Athletic injuries; Epidemiology; Etiology; Follow-up studies; Incidence; Risk factors; Running, Sports.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Lower Extremity / injuries*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Physical Conditioning, Human*
  • Risk Factors
  • Running / injuries*
  • Spinal Injuries / epidemiology*