Low back pain among Italian runners: A cross-sectional survey

Phys Ther Sport. 2021 Mar:48:136-145. doi: 10.1016/j.ptsp.2020.12.023. Epub 2021 Jan 4.


Background: Low Back Pain (LBP) is commonly reported as a very frequent disorder in sports, but its prevalence in runners remains unclear.

Objectives: To determine the prevalence of LBP in a wide sample of Italian runners.

Design: A cross-sectional online survey.

Setting: A national survey, according to the CHERRIES and STROBE guidelines, was performed in 2019.

Participants: 2539 Italian runners.

Methods: A sample of Italian runners registered with national running associations was recruited. The survey was conducted using an online survey development platform. The questionnaire was self-reported and included 38 questions.

Main outcome measures: Descriptive statistics and frequencies were used to analyze results. Relationships between demographics, daily habits and running characteristics and the responses given was calculated with Cramer's V. Only correlation values higher >0.60 were deemed of interest.

Results: 2539 questionnaires (63.5%) were valid for analysis. In total, 22.6% of runners reported having experienced LBP in the past year. Most participants (77.0%) reporting episodes of LBP believed it was not caused by running. No significant correlations (Cramer's V < 0.60) were found between LBP and demographics, training characteristics or lifestyle habits.

Conclusion: The prevalence of LBP among Italian runners was 22,57%. LBP was not associated with training, equipment or lifestyle.

Keywords: Low back pain; Prevalence; Related running injuries; Risk factors; Running.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Life Style
  • Low Back Pain / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Physical Conditioning, Human
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Running / injuries*
  • Self Report
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult