[Diseases and overuse injuries of the lower extremities in long distance runners]

Z Rheumatol. 2017 Jun;76(5):443-450. doi: 10.1007/s00393-017-0276-6.
[Article in German]


Running is one of the most popular sports worldwide, with running events attracting hundreds of thousands of runners of all age groups. Running is an effective way to improve health but is also associated with a high risk of injuries. Up to 50% of regular runners report having more than one injury each year. Some injuries are caused by an accident but most are caused by overuse. The most frequent diagnoses are patellofemoral pain syndrome, tibial stress syndrome (shin splint), Achilles tendinopathy, iliotibial band friction syndrome (runner's knee), plantar fasciitis and stress fractures of the metatarsals and tibia. The knee is the most frequently injured joint in runners at all distances. Hamstring injuries are typically acute resulting in a sudden, sharp pain in the posterior thigh. Hip injuries are less common but it can be more difficult to make the correct diagnosis and treatment is more complex. Clinicians confronted by runners with shin pain must distinguish between stress fractures of the tibia, tibial stress syndrome (shin splints) and chronic exertional compartment syndrome. Foot and ankle injuries are the most common injuries reported by long distance and marathon runners. Excess body weight and the number of kilometers run per week are high risk factors for injuries. The roles of other factors, such as shoes, stretching and biomechanics are less clear. A detailed anamnesis and physical examination are important for the correct diagnosis or the necessity for further diagnostic imaging and subsequent therapy.

Keywords: Compartment syndrome; Injuries; Nail injuries; Risk factors; Running.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Comorbidity
  • Compartment Syndromes / diagnosis
  • Compartment Syndromes / epidemiology*
  • Compartment Syndromes / therapy
  • Cumulative Trauma Disorders / diagnosis
  • Cumulative Trauma Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Cumulative Trauma Disorders / therapy
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Female
  • Fractures, Stress / diagnosis
  • Fractures, Stress / epidemiology*
  • Fractures, Stress / therapy
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Leg Injuries / diagnosis
  • Leg Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Leg Injuries / therapy
  • Male
  • Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome / therapy
  • Running / injuries*
  • Running / statistics & numerical data*