Development and validation of a new method for the registration of overuse injuries in sports injury epidemiology: the Oslo Sports Trauma Research Centre (OSTRC) Overuse Injury Questionnaire
- Correspondence to Benjamin Clarsen, Oslo Sports Trauma Research Center, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, PO Box 4014 Ullevål Stadion, Oslo 0806, Norway;
- Received 28 June 2012
- Accepted 3 September 2012
- Published Online First 4 October 2012
Background Current methods for injury registration in sports injury epidemiology studies may substantially underestimate the true burden of overuse injuries due to a reliance on time-loss injury definitions.
Objective To develop and validate a new method for the registration of overuse injuries in sports.
Methods A new method, including a new overuse injury questionnaire, was developed and validated in a 13-week prospective study of injuries among 313 athletes from five different sports, cross-country skiing, floorball, handball, road cycling and volleyball. All athletes completed a questionnaire by email each week to register problems in the knee, lower back and shoulder. Standard injury registration methods were also used to record all time-loss injuries that occurred during the study period.
Results The new method recorded 419 overuse problems in the knee, lower back and shoulder during the 3-month-study period. Of these, 142 were classified as substantial overuse problems, defined as those leading to moderate or severe reductions in sports performance or participation, or time loss. Each week, an average of 39% of athletes reported having overuse problems and 13% reported having substantial problems. In contrast, standard methods of injury registration registered only 40 overuse injuries located in the same anatomical areas, the majority of which were of minimal or mild severity.
Conclusion Standard injury surveillance methods only capture a small percentage of the overuse problems affecting the athletes, largely because few problems led to time loss from training or competition. The new method captured a more complete and nuanced picture of the burden of overuse injuries in this cohort.