Risk models for lower extremity injuries among short- and long distance runners: A prospective cohort study

Musculoskelet Sci Pract. 2018 Aug;36:48-53. doi: 10.1016/j.msksp.2018.04.007. Epub 2018 Apr 28.


Background: Running injuries are very common. Risk factors for running injuries are not consistently described across studies and do not differentiate between runners of long- and short distances within one cohort.

Objectives: The aim of this study is to determine risk factors for running injuries in recreational long- and short distance runners separately.

Design: A prospective cohort study.

Methods: Recreational runners from four different running events are invited to participate. They filled in a baseline questionnaire assessing possible risk factors about 4 weeks before the run and one a week after the run assessing running injuries. Using logistic regression we developed an overall risk model and separate risk models based on the running distance.

Results: In total 3768 runners participated in this study. The overall risk model contained 4 risk factors: previous injuries (OR 3.7) and running distance during the event (OR 1.3) increased the risk of a running injury whereas older age (OR 0.99) and more training kilometers per week (OR 0.99) showed a decrease. Models between short- and long distance runners did not differ significantly. Previous injuries increased the risk of a running injury in all models, while more training kilometers per week decreased this risk.

Conclusions: We found that risk factors for running injuries were not related to running distances. Previous injury is a generic risk factor for running injuries, as is weekly training distance. Prevention of running injuries is important and a higher weekly training volume seems to prevent injuries to a certain extent.

Keywords: Risk factors; Risk model; Running; Running-related injuries.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leg Injuries*
  • Lower Extremity / injuries*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment / methods*
  • Risk Assessment / statistics & numerical data*
  • Risk Factors
  • Running / injuries*
  • Running / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult