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Running retraining to treat lower limb injuries: a mixed-methods study of current evidence synthesised with expert opinion
  1. C J Barton1,2,3,4,
  2. D R Bonanno1,5,
  3. J Carr2,6,
  4. B S Neal3,4,
  5. P Malliaras1,2,4,
  6. A Franklyn-Miller7,8,
  7. H B Menz1,5
  1. 1Sport and Exercise Medicine Research Centre, School of Allied Health, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  2. 2Complete Sports Care, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  3. 3Pure Sports Medicine, London, UK
  4. 4Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine, Queen Mary University of London, London, UK
  5. 5Discipline of Podiatry, School of Allied Health, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  6. 6Back on Track Physiotherapy, Albury, New South Wales, Australia
  7. 7Sports Surgery Clinic Research Unit, Santry Demesne, Dublin, Republic of Ireland
  8. 8Centre for Health, Exercise and Sports Medicine, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr CJ Barton, Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine, Queen Mary University of London, London E14DG, UK; christian{at}


Importance Running-related injuries are highly prevalent.

Objective Synthesise published evidence with international expert opinion on the use of running retraining when treating lower limb injuries.

Design Mixed methods.

Methods A systematic review of clinical and biomechanical findings related to running retraining interventions were synthesised and combined with semistructured interviews with 16 international experts covering clinical reasoning related to the implementation of running retraining.

Results Limited evidence supports the effectiveness of transition from rearfoot to forefoot or midfoot strike and increase step rate or altering proximal mechanics in individuals with anterior exertional lower leg pain; and visual and verbal feedback to reduce hip adduction in females with patellofemoral pain. Despite the paucity of clinical evidence, experts recommended running retraining for: iliotibial band syndrome; plantar fasciopathy (fasciitis); Achilles, patellar, proximal hamstring and gluteal tendinopathy; calf pain; and medial tibial stress syndrome. Tailoring approaches to each injury and individual was recommended to optimise outcomes. Substantial evidence exists for the immediate biomechanical effects of running retraining interventions (46 studies), including evaluation of step rate and strike pattern manipulation, strategies to alter proximal kinematics and cues to reduce impact loading variables.

Summary and relevance Our synthesis of published evidence related to clinical outcomes and biomechanical effects with expert opinion indicates running retraining warrants consideration in the treatment of lower limb injuries in clinical practice.

  • Running
  • Injury
  • Rehabilitation
  • Lower limb

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