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Research Roundup: What Do Recreational Runners Think About Risk Factors for Running Injuries? A Descriptive Study of Their Beliefs and Opinions

Do you read about running studies over the weekend?  Because that is what I found myself doing this weekend!

Publication:  Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy, Volume 44, Number 10, October 2014

Study Design:  Qualitative study based on semi-structured interviews

Objectives:  To describe the beliefs and opinions of runners about risk factors associated with running injuries.

Background:  Despite the health benefits of running, a high prevalence of injury has been reported in runners.  Preventative strategies for running injuries may be more successful with a better knowledge of runners’ beliefs.

When the latest edition of JOSPT came out this month we were super excited to find that it was all about running.  The study I am looking at today is considered to be a “soft” study.  A soft study means that while it does provide us evidence, it may be hard to truly put a lot of confidence in this paper. The reason for this being that it is hard to collect data from a semi structured interview without a defined questionnaire of some sort, it is a very hard topic to quantify or at least apply common sense towards, and this is what the study looked to at least clarify.  Clarification was needed in regards to what recreational runners think about the risk factors that commonly occur in running populations.  The reason this study is awesome for Dr. Kemenosh and Dr. Gross is because when you talk to runners, which make up about 50% of our patient population, you want to know what the common problems and thoughts are behind running injuries.

In this study a total of 95 recreational runners, 65 men, 30 women, between the ages of 19 and 71 years of age were interviewed on what they thought about running injuries.  The runners in the study had an average of five and half years of running experience.  The runners in this study also ran around an average of 35 kilometers per week.  45% of the population interviewed had a running related injury during their running career.  Interestingly enough, the most common external factors cited for running injuries included, 1. “not stretching,” 2. “excess of training,” 3. “not warming up,” 4. “lack of strength,” and 5. “wearing the wrong shoes.”  Internal factors cited were “not respecting the body’s limitations” and “foot-type changes”.

This study is most likely considered to be a pilot study because this is very unique study that hones in on how runners feel or what their beliefs are towards running related injuries.  This study clearly shows that runners believe that “not stretching” is a primary factor stays in the minds of most runners.  Some runners had statements similar to “when I don’t stretch well, I feel like I do not run as well or running differently.”  RCT’s (Randomized Clinical Trials) have shown various degrees of how effective stretching in runners actually is.  We all hope that a stronger study is grown from this pilot which has even better defined details.

Feel free to look at the study yourself,