Recreational Runners With a History of Injury Are Twice as Likely to Sustain a Running-Related Injury as Runners With No History of Injury: A 1-Year Prospective Cohort Study

J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2021 Mar;51(3):144-150. doi: 10.2519/jospt.2021.9673. Epub 2020 Dec 25.


Objectives: To investigate (1) the cumulative incidence proportion and the most common anatomical locations of running-related injuries in recreational runners, and (2) the associations between running-related injuries and previous injury, running experience, weekly running distance, age, sex, and body mass index.

Design: A 1-year prospective cohort study.

Methods: Two hundred twenty-four recreational runners (average weekly running distance for the past 12 months, 15 km) were included (89 women, 135 men). Pain information was reported weekly for 1 year, and all running-related injuries that resulted in time loss or medical consultation were recorded. We accounted for censoring when calculating cumulative incidence proportion, and used crude Cox proportional hazards regression to evaluate whether the variables of interest were associated with running-related injuries.

Results: The 1-year cumulative incidence proportion of running-related injuries was 45.9% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 38.4%, 54.2%). The most common anatomical locations were the knee (20/75, 27%) and Achilles tendon/calf (19/75, 25%). Previous injury was associated with a higher injury rate (hazard rate ratio = 1.9; 95% CI: 1.2, 3.2), while the other variables had no statistically significant association with injury.

Conclusion: There were 75 running-related injuries during the 1-year surveillance period, for a cumulative incidence proportion of 46%. The most common injuries were to the knee and Achilles tendon/calf. Recreational runners with a previous injury were twice as likely to sustain a running-related injury as runners with no previous injury. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 2021;51(3):144-150. Epub 25 Dec 2020. doi:10.2519/jospt.2021.9673.

Keywords: injury epidemiology; overuse injuries; running.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reinjuries / epidemiology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Running / injuries*
  • Young Adult