Running the Race Against Injuries: A review of the literature

Monash University Accident Research Centre - Report #104 - 1996

Authors: A. McGrath & C. Finch

Countermeasure Fact Sheets                   Full report in .pdf format [320KB]


Running is one of Australia’s most popular sporting and leisure activities. While running is promoted by health professionals and has a wide variety of medically and socially related benefits, it needs to be recognised that, as with any sport, injuries can occur. Between 70-80% of running injuries are from the knee downward; knee injuries typically account for 25% of all cases. The majority of injuries are musculoskeletal in nature and associated with overuse. The constant repetition of the same movements required to run, along with factors related to the runner and their environment, are obvious contributors to the aetiology of running injuries. The overall aim of this report is to critically review both the formal literature and informal sources that describe injury prevention measures, or countermeasures, for running. In doing so, it provides an evaluation of the extent to which these countermeasures have been demonstrated to be effective. This report discusses the full range of countermeasures for preventing running injuries including: warming-up and stretching, correction of training errors, attention to the running environment, correction of running technique, footwear, use of orthotics, preventing runner and transport collisions, adequate treatment and rehabilitation. Specific factors associated with children’s and women’s running injuries are also discussed. Recommendations for further countermeasure research, development and implementation include additional research into the biomechanics of running and the mechanisms of injury; improved epidemiological studies to identify risk factors; further controlled evaluation of the effectiveness of countermeasures; professional fitting of shoes; professional testing for biomechanical abnormalities and the fitting of orthotic devices; further research into the role of dietary factors; and provision of first aid at running events.

Sponsor: Sport and Recreation Victoria