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4 Reasons Why You Get Injured

By on May 30, 2014

What are the Main Risk Factors for Running-Related Injuries? That was the question posed in a new systematic review of the latest research evidence, published in Sports Medicine.

The study (authored by Bruno Tirotti Saragiotto, Tiê Parma Yamato, Luiz Carlos Hespanhol Junior, Michael J. Rainbow, Irene S. Davis and Alexandre Dias Lopes) comprised 11 articles, coverig a total of 4,671 pooled participants and some 60 different predictive factors for running injury.

Perhaps unsurprisingly the key risk factor identified was previous injury. But, as noted below, other interesting details emerged from the review.

The main risk factor reported was previous injury.

What running injury risk factors were examined?


The systematic review covered a wide range of risk factors, broken down into intrinsic and external factors. These are listed below. For the intrinsic and extrinsic lists in turn, each risk factor is listed ordered according to the number of articles that found it to be associated with running-related injuries.

Intrinsic factors

  1. Previous injuries
  2. Q-angle
  3. Age
  4. BMI
  5. Type A behaviour
  6. Non-musculoskeletal comorbidities
  7. Leg-length difference
  8. Q-angle right-left difference
  9. Competitive runner
  10. Lower extremity flexibility
  11. Height
  12. Ankle plantar flexion
  13. Navicular drop
  14. Arch index (high)
  15. Gender
  16. Ankle dorsiflexion
  17. Educational level
  18. Smoking
  19. Hip internal/external rotation
  20. Food intake
  21. Arch type
  22. Knee alignment
  23. Alcohol consumption
  24. Nutritional supplements
  25. Body composition
  26. Previous surgery
  27. Laboratory tests
  28. Ankle pronation
  29. Spine flexibility
  30. Forefoot valgus/varus
  31. Subtalar valgus/varus
  32. Arch height
  33. Tubercle-sulcus angle
  34. Loading rate
  35. Contact time
  36. Impact peak
  37. Active peak
  38. Time to impact peak
  39. Time to active peak
  40. Step frequency
  41. Anabolic steroids use
  42. Medical check-up
  43. Stride length


Extrinsic factors

  1. Weekly distance
  2. Weekly frequency
  3. Running experience
  4. Duration of running shoes
  5. Stretching habits
  6. Previous sports activities
  7. Surface
  8. Running all year round
  9. Use of orthotics
  10. Terrain
  11. Races last 12 months
  12. Pace
  13. Fitness level
  14. Other physical activities
  15. Warm-up
  16. Running shoes criteria
  17. Preseason running

Why do I really get injured?


The bottom line from the systematic review is neatly summarised by Craig Payne for Running Research Junkie. He highlights:

    • Previous injury. An injury in the previous 12 months was found to be significant in 5 out of 8 studies that investigated the factor.
    • Q angle. A higher quadriceps angle of the knee was associated with running injuries in 2 out of 3 studies.
    • Mileage. In 2 out of 5 studies, weekly mileage of more than 64 km was a risk factor for lower extremity running injuries.
    • Frequency. 2 out of 5 studies found a link between weekly running frequency and injury.
    • Gender. No link with running injuries was found in most of the studies.

There was no association between gender and running injuries in most of the studies.

As Payne notes, however, a major shortcoming of the study is that it focused on all running-related injuries. Future research on specific running injuries may well be more informative for runners.

Post credits

Image by nprpdx

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