Running related injuries (RRI) have remained reasonable unchanged since the early 1980s and range from 17-79%. RRI are the most prevalent reason why runners cease participation with the most commonly affected areas being the knee and lower leg. Studies have looked at demographic and anthropometric factors to determine risk factors for RRI injuries with consideration given to age, sex, BMI. These factors were found to be associated with certain injuries where females are more likely to sustain anterior knee and ITB pain, while men were more likely to suffer from Achilles tendinopathy and plantar fasciitis.

A recent study by Hollander, anchored by expert running biomechanists Irene Davis, retrospectively looked at 550 recreational runners to determine the different factors that might play a role in RRI and to give further weight to the notion that RRI are multifactorial. Their study examined biomechanics, demographics and anthropometric factors.

Running Related Injury Risks

Their paper found the foot striking patterns were associated with certain injuries; Achilles injuries were 2 times more likely in those with a midfoot strike pattern. This is potentially a result of the changes in Achilles loading due to the position of the foot and ankle on impact. Posterior leg injuries (most commonly calf injuries) were associated with forefoot strike patterns.

They also found that higher peak vertical ground reaction forces, the forces directly impacted on the body as the foot hits the ground were associated with hip and groin pain. Interestingly though, they didn’t find an association between cadence (steps per minute) and injury location, whereas other studies have found that a lower cadence is associated with anterior (front) leg pain.

Key Injury Risk Factors

Some of the key overall injury risk factors Hollander found indicate your risk increases for:

  • An Achilles injury if you are older, male and a midfoot striker
  • An ITB injury if you are older
  • A hip/groin injury if you are female
  • A thigh injury or anterior knee pain if you are female
  • A patella or quadriceps tendinopathy if you are male.

How To Avoid A Running Injury

The most important factor to mitigate the risk of a RRI is appropriate load management. This means periodizing training, having appropriate rest periods and deload weeks of training, and to scale up training in roughly 10% increments each week.

Tendinopathies are extremely prevalent in running including Achilles, plantar fasciitis, glute medius, patellar and quadriceps. Tendinopathies are directly associated with load levels however, the best way to prevent tendinopathies is by having strong tendons. Therefore a gym based strengthening program is vitally important for runners. There is also evidence to support the use of minimal footwear to improve intrinsic foot muscle strength with a 2018 paper showing over a 12 week period, minimal shoes were as effective at improving intrinsic foot muscle strength as performing a foot strengthening program.

Identifying and correcting any technique and/or biomechanical deficiencies will ensure a more evenly loaded musculoskeletal system in addition to reducing high peak vertical growth reaction forces both of which are related to RRI.

Finally, make sure you rehabilitate any injuries you have sustained as prior injuries, especially soft tissue injuries such as calf strains are a risk factor for a subsequent injury. Anecdotally, in our Melbourne city chiropractic clinic the three most prevalent factors leading to injury are poor training load management, muscle imbalances especially around the pelvis and poor technique. To find out how our sports chiropractic clinic manages training loads click here. Additionally, if you are interested to learn how the weight of your running shoes might be slowing you do, you can read more here. For those keen to explore the benefits of minimal shoes we prefer Sole Mechanic Footwear, who specialise in minimal shoes. If you use the code “SHANNONCLINIC7” you will receive a 15% discount.

You can find more Blogs from the Shannon Clinic – Melbourne Chiropractic and Sports Care here.

If you are experiencing a running related injury or encounter repeated running related injuries, Having worked with state and national track and field athletes, as well as endurance and ultra endurance athletes Melbourne city chiropractoc Dr. Shannon is well placed to assess your running related injury. You can make an appointment below. Our Melbourne chiropractic clinic is conveniently located in the heart of the Melbourne CBD on Collins Street in the Manchester Unity building, opposite the Melbourne Town Hall and City Square.