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      What are the Main Running-Related Musculoskeletal Injuries? : A Systematic Review


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          Musculoskeletal injuries occur frequently in runners and despite many studies about running injuries conducted over the past decades it is not clear in the literature what are the main running-related musculoskeletal injuries (RRMIs).


          The aim of this study is to systematically review studies on the incidence and prevalence of the main specific RRMIs.


          An electronic database search was conducted using EMBASE (1947 to October 2011), MEDLINE (1966 to October 2011), SPORTDiscus™ (1975 to October 2011), the Latin American and Caribbean Center on Health Sciences Information (LILACS) [1982 to October 2011] and the Scientific Electronic Library Online (SciELO) [1998 to October 2011] with no limits of date or language of publication. Articles that described the incidence or prevalence rates of RRMIs were considered eligible. Studies that reported only the type of injury, anatomical region or incomplete data that precluded interpretation of the incidence or prevalence rates of RRMIs were excluded. We extracted data regarding bibliometric characteristics, study design, description of the population of runners, RRMI definition, how the data of RRMIs were collected and the name of each RRMI with their rates of incidence or prevalence. Separate analysis for ultra-marathoners was performed. Among 2924 potentially eligible titles, eight studies (pooled n = 3500 runners) were considered eligible for the review. In general, the articles had moderate risk of bias and only one fulfilled less than half of the quality criteria established.


          A total of 28 RRMIs were found and the main general RRMIs were medial tibial stress syndrome (incidence ranging from 13.6% to 20.0%; prevalence of 9.5%), Achilles tendinopathy (incidence ranging from 9.1% to 10.9%; prevalence ranging from 6.2% to 9.5%) and plantar fasciitis (incidence ranging from 4.5% to 10.0%; prevalence ranging from 5.2% to 17.5%). The main ultra-marathon RRMIs were Achilles tendinopathy (prevalence ranging from 2.0% to 18.5%) and patellofemoral syndrome (prevalence ranging from 7.4% to 15.6%).


          This systematic review provides evidence that medial tibia stress syndrome, Achilles tendinopathy and plantar fasciitis were the main general RRMIs, while Achilles tendinopathy and patellofemoral syndrome were the most common RRMIs for runners who participated in ultra-marathon races.

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          Most cited references72

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          A retrospective case-control analysis of 2002 running injuries.

          To provide an extensive and up to date database for specific running related injuries, across the sexes, as seen at a primary care sports medicine facility, and to assess the relative risk for individual injuries based on investigation of selected risk factors. Patient data were recorded by doctors at the Allan McGavin Sports Medicine Centre over a two year period. They included assessment of anthropometric, training, and biomechanical information. A model was constructed (with odds ratios and their 95% confidence intervals) of possible contributing factors using a dependent variable of runners with a specific injury and comparing them with a control group of runners who experienced a different injury. Variables included in the model were: height, weight, body mass index, age, activity history, weekly activity, history of injury, and calibre of runner. Most of the study group were women (54%). Some injuries occurred with a significantly higher frequency in one sex. Being less than 34 years old was reported as a risk factor across the sexes for patellofemoral pain syndrome, and in men for iliotibial band friction syndrome, patellar tendinopathy, and tibial stress syndrome. Being active for less than 8.5 years was positively associated with injury in both sexes for tibial stress syndrome; and women with a body mass index less than 21 kg/m(2) were at a significantly higher risk for tibial stress fractures and spinal injuries. Patellofemoral pain syndrome was the most common injury, followed by iliotibial band friction syndrome, plantar fasciitis, meniscal injuries of the knee, and tibial stress syndrome. Although various risk factors were shown to be positively associated with a risk for, or protection from, specific injuries, future research should include a non-injured control group and a more precise measure of weekly running distance and running experience to validate these results.
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            No injuries, but plenty of pain? On the methodology for recording overuse symptoms in sports.

            R Bahr (2009)
            Overuse injuries may represent as much of a problem as do acute injuries in many sports. This paper reviews key concepts related to the methodology for recording overuse symptoms. Results from the FIVB Volleyball Injury Study were used to compare two different recording methods. The aim of this paper was to provide recommendations on how standardised methodology can be developed to quantify overuse injuries in surveillance studies. Using beach volleyball data, a "traditional" cohort study approach using a time-loss injury definition suggested that injury risk was very low. In contrast, the data from a survey of past and present pain problems in the shoulder, knees and low back demonstrated that these were prevalent. The following recommendations are made: (1) studies should be prospective, with continuous or serial measurements of symptoms; (2) valid and sensitive scoring instruments need to be developed to measure pain and other relevant symptoms; (3) prevalence and not incidence should be used to report injury risk; (4) severity should be measured based on functional level and not time loss from sports. In conclusion, new approaches are needed to develop more appropriate methodology to quantify overuse injuries in studies.
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              Injuries to runners


                Author and article information

                luca_hespanhol@hotmail.com , luiz.hespanhol@sprunig.net
                Sports Med
                Sports Med
                Sports Medicine (Auckland, N.z.)
                Springer International Publishing (Cham )
                23 December 2012
                23 December 2012
                October 2012
                : 42
                : 10
                : 891-905
                [ ]São Paulo Running Injury Group (SPRunIG), São Paulo, Brazil
                [ ]Masters in Physical Therapy, Universidade Cidade de São Paulo-UNICID, Rua Cesário Galeno, 448/475, São Paulo, SP — CEP: 03071-000 Brazil
                [ ]Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, China
                [ ]Musculoskeletal Division, The George Institute for Global Health, Sydney, New South Wales Australia
                © Springer International Publishing AG 2012
                Systematic Review
                Custom metadata
                © Springer International Publishing AG 2012


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