Knowledge and management of low back pain as running-related injuries among Italian physical therapists: findings from a national survey

Phys Sportsmed. 2021 Sep;49(3):278-288. doi: 10.1080/00913847.2020.1816124. Epub 2020 Sep 30.


Objectives: To investigate the beliefs, knowledge, attitudes, behavior, and the clinical management procedures of the Italian physical therapists specialized in orthopedic manipulative physical therapy (OMPT) toward running and its correlation with low back pain (LBP).Design: A cross-sectional online survey was conducted in 2019, according to the Checklist for Reporting Results of Internet E-Surveys (CHERRIES) and Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (STROBE) guidelines.Setting: Italy.Participants: One thousand two hundred and eighteen Italian OMPTs.

Methods: Survey Monkey software was used to administer the survey. The questionnaire was self-reported and included 26 questions. Descriptive statistics were used and related to the effective respondents for each question.

Results: One thousand two hundred and eighteen questionnaires (60.9%) were included in the analysis. A considerable cohort of OMPTs working in private practice clinical settings (n = 845; 69.4%; 95% CI 66.7-71.9) has indicated running not to be a relevant risk factor for the onset of LBP (n = 806; 66.2%; 95% CI 63.4-68.8). Moreover, most of the participants (n = 679; 55.7%; 95% CI 52.9-58.5) adopted a combination of manual therapy techniques and therapeutic exercise for the management of runners with LBP.

Conclusions: Widespread knowledge of clinical and theoretical management of LBP in runners-patients has emerged among Italian OMPTs. The OMPTs' academic background agrees with the recent literature and therefore highlights the paucity of studies related to LBP as running-related injuries.

Keywords: Athletic injuries; disease management; knowledge; low back pain; prevalence; running.

MeSH terms

  • Athletic Injuries
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Low Back Pain* / therapy
  • Physical Therapists
  • Running* / injuries
  • Surveys and Questionnaires