Incidence of injuries
Up to 80% of all runners have sustained a lower limb injury at some point in their running career. The most commonly injured sites in order: knee, foot, lower leg (calf, heel, shin) and upper leg (quads and hamstring and groin). Ankles and pelvic injuries are not commonly associated with running.
Risk factors for injuries
There is strong but conflicting evidence about greater age being associated with greater risk factor as well as a protective factor.
There is limited evidence that
· Females are less likely to be injured than males.
· Females are more likely to have injuries to hip joints
· Males more likely to have injuries to hamstrings or calves
There is limited evidence that:
· Leg length discrepancy or difference is associated with increased lower limb injuries.
· Bow legs (genu varum) are associated with increased incidence of shin splints.
· Male runners higher than 1.7 meters are associated with increased risk of sustaining new injuries.
· Running more than twice a week is associated with increased risk of injury
· Running through a whole year without a break increases risk of injury
· Running more than 60km/week increases risk of injury
· Increased length of event is associated with increased risk of injury
· Novices are more likely to injure knee, hamstring and ankle
· Shin injuries are associated with the use of multiple shoes for running
· Shoe age of 4-6months is protective against injuries
· Previous injury is the highest predictor of a new injury
· Alcohol consumption associated with increased risk of injury
Eliza Leslie is physiotherapist who has many years experience in Musculoskeletal and sports physiotherapy. Her special interests include Clinical Pilates, Women's Health and injury prevention and rehabilitation.