Association Between Statin Use and Prevalence of Exercise-Related Injuries: A Cross-Sectional Survey of Amateur Runners in the Netherlands

Sports Med. 2017 Sep;47(9):1885-1892. doi: 10.1007/s40279-017-0681-7.


Background: HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins) are the first-choice therapy for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease. Some maintain that statins cause adverse musculoskeletal outcomes in highly active individuals, but few studies have examined the effects of statins on exercise-related injuries.

Objective: We sought to compare the prevalence of exercise-related injuries between runners who do or do not use statins.

Methods: Amateur runners (n = 4460) completed an extensive online questionnaire on their exercise patterns and health status. Participants replied to questions on the prevalence of exercise-related injuries in the previous year. Injuries were divided into general injuries, tendon- and ligament-related injuries, and muscle-related injuries. Participants were also queried about statin use: the type of statin, statin dose, and duration of treatment. Runners were divided into statin users, non-statin users with hypercholesterolemia, and controls for analysis.

Results: The crude odds ratios (ORs) for injuries, tendon- or ligament-related injuries, and muscle-related injuries in statin users compared with controls were 1.14 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.79-1.66), 1.10 (95% CI 0.71-1.72), and 1.15 (95% CI 0.69-1.91), respectively. After adjustment for age, sex, body mass index (BMI), and metabolic equivalent of task (MET) h/week of exercise, the ORs were 1.11 (95% CI 0.76-1.62), 1.06 (95% CI 0.68-1.66), and 0.98 (95% CI 0.58-1.64), respectively. Similar effect measures were found when comparing non-statin users with hypercholesterolemia and controls.

Conclusion: We did not find an association between statin use and the prevalence of exercise-related injuries or tendon-, ligament-, and muscle-related injuries. Runners receiving statins should continue normal physical activity without concern for increased risk of injuries.

Keywords: Atorvastatin; Injury Risk; Rosuvastatin; Statin; Statin User.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / adverse effects*
  • Hypercholesterolemia / drug therapy*
  • Joint Diseases / chemically induced
  • Joint Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Joint Dislocations / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / injuries*
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / chemically induced
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life
  • Running* / injuries
  • Sprains and Strains / epidemiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors