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The prevalence of musculoskeletal injuries in runners: a systematic review
  1. L C Hespanhol Junior,
  2. A C A Carvalho,
  3. L O P Costa,
  4. A D Lopes
  1. Masters in Physical Therapy Program, Universidade Cidade de Sao Paulo (UNICID), Sao Paulo, Brazil


Background The number of runners worldwide is large and still growing, and in the last 30 years the number of publications on running-related injuries has grown substantially. Many of these studies indicate the total rate of injuries and the most frequently injured body parts, but it is not describe what the injuries are.

Objective To summarise the literature that focused on the most prevalent musculoskeletal running-related injuries.

Design A systematic review.

Setting The articles are related with long-distance runners without restriction of competitive level.

Interventions Searches were performed on MEDLINE, PEDro, LILACS and SCIELO. The keywords and operands used were: sport AND injuries AND running. There was no restriction with regards to the publication date. This search is updated up to September 2010.

Main outcome measurements We extracted the following data from the selected papers: year of publication, authors, purpose of the study, study population characteristics, study design, which musculoskeletal running-related injuries was more frequent and the anatomical location of these injuries.

Results Of 2043 found studies, 1767 were excluded by title, 153 were excluded after reading the abstract and 114 were excluded after reading the full report. Nine articles were considered eligible and therefore were included. The five most frequently running-related injuries found in the retrieved nine studies were the Patellofemoral Syndrome, Achilles Tendinopathy, Iliotibial Band Syndrome, Plantar Fasciitis and Tibial Stress Syndrome. The remaining injuries did not have their frequency sets well established.

Conclusion The most frequent running-related injury among long distance runners are the Patellofemoral Syndrome, followed by Achilles Tendinopathy, Iliotibial Band Syndrome and Plantar Fasciitis. We suggest that more prospective follow-up studies should be conducted and present their data through scoring injury per hours of running exposure.

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