One in four trail running race entrants sustained an injury in the 12 months training preceding the 2019 SkyRun race

Phys Ther Sport. 2021 Jan:47:120-126. doi: 10.1016/j.ptsp.2020.11.029. Epub 2020 Nov 24.


Objective: To determine the epidemiology and clinical characteristics of RRIs among trail runners who entered the 2019 SkyRun races.

Design: Descriptive cross-sectional study.

Setting: 2019 SkyRun races.

Participants: Consent for data analysis was given by 305 of 412 (74%) race entrants.

Main outcome measures: Retrospective annual incidence (RRIs/1000 h), point prevalence (%), frequency (%), characteristics (anatomical region, body area, tissue type, pathology type) and injury severity (mean severity score; 95% CI) of RRIs.

Results: 28.2% of participants reported at least one RRI. The retrospective annual incidence was 49.5 RRIs per 1000h and the point prevalence was 1.3%. Most injuries occurred in the lower limb (87.3%), with the knee (26.5%), ankle (21.6%), and foot (16.7%) reported as the most frequently injured body areas. Muscle/tendon accounted for 44.1% of tissue type injuries. Tendinopathy (27.5%), joint sprain (19.6%), and muscle injury (15.7%) were the most common pathology types reported. The mean injury severity score was 31.6.

Conclusions: One in 4 trail runners reported at least one RRI in the 12 months leading up to a race. RRIs mostly affected the lower limb specifically the knee, ankle and foot. Future research should establish injury risk factors to ultimately develop specific injury prevention strategies.

Keywords: Clinical characteristics; Epidemiology; Running-related injuries; Trail running.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Athletic Injuries / prevention & control
  • Competitive Behavior
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Lower Extremity / injuries*
  • Male
  • Physical Conditioning, Human / adverse effects
  • Prevalence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Running / injuries*
  • Sprains and Strains / epidemiology
  • Sprains and Strains / prevention & control
  • Tendon Injuries / epidemiology
  • Tendon Injuries / prevention & control