Background We know that high-performance sports place high stress in the musculoskeletal system, often resulting in injury, pain, or other complaints. It is not unusual for athletes to decide to participate in important competitions, despite an ongoing disability or injury. However, we are unaware of any study that has presented any clear information about this issue in recreational runners.
Objective The aims of this study were to calculate the prevalence of presence of musculoskeletal pain in amateur runners immediately before a race and to identify possible factors that could be associated with presence of musculoskeletal pain in this population.
Design This is a cross-sectional survey study.
Setting These runners were recreational athletes that participated in different races in São Paulo (Brazil), the distance of these races ranged from 5.000/10.000 meters.
Participants A convenience sample of 1049 runners, 24.1% women (n=253) and 75.9% men (n=796).
Assessment of risk factors This questionnaire contained information on presence of musculoskeletal pain, demographic characteristics, weight, body mass index, running experience, running mileage/week, number of training sessions/week, predominant training surface and coaching utilisation. We used logistic regression analysis to indentify associations between possible factors and presence of musculoskeletal pain (p<0.05). The data were collected 1–2 h prior to the races.
Main outcome measurements Presence of musculoskeletal pain.
Results The prevalence of presence of musculoskeletal pain was 20% and 26.9% for men and women respectively. Running experience (OR=2.97, 95% CI 1.59 to 5.56) and weekly running distance (OR=1.88, 95% CI 1.02 to 3.48) were associated with presence of musculoskeletal pain in men prior to the race.
Conclusion The prevalence of presence of musculoskeletal pain in amateur runners prior to the race was high. We have observed higher experience in running (ie, more than 10 years) and high training volumes (ie, more than 50 Km/week) were associated with presence of musculoskeletal pain.