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336 Epidemiology of injury and illness among trail runners: a systematic review
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  1. Carel Viljoen1,
  2. Christa Janse van Rensburg2,
  3. Evert Verhagen3,
  4. Willem van Mechelen4,5,6,7,
  5. Rita Tomas8,
  6. Marlene Schoeman10,
  7. Susan Scheepers9,
  8. Elzette Korkie1
  1. 1Department of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria and Sport, Exercise Medicine and Lifestyle Institute (SEMLI), Pretoria, South Africa
  2. 2Sport, Exercise Medicine and Lifestyle Institute (SEMLI) and Section Sports Medicine Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
  3. 3Amsterdam Collaboration for Health and Safety in Sports, Department of Public and Occupational Health, Amsterdam Movement Sciences, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, Netherlands
  4. 4Amsterdam Collaboration for Health and Safety in Sports, Department of Public and Occupational Health, Amsterdam Movement Sciences, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Amsterdam, Netherlands
  5. 5School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences, Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
  6. 6Division of Exercise Science and Sports Medicine (ESSM), Department of Human Biology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
  7. 7School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Population Sciences, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
  8. 8Portugal Football School, Portuguese Football Federation, Lisbon, Portugal
  9. 9Department of Library Services, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
  10. 10None, Pretoria, South Africa

Abstract

Background Trail running (TR) is characterised by uneven varying running surfaces, with large elevation gains/losses. Therefore, the injury and illness profiles of TR may differ compared to road running. Limited information is available on injury and illness among trail runners (TRs) to help develop interventions towards injury prevention.

Objective Systematically review data on TR injury and illness.

Design Systematic review.

Setting MEDLINE Ovid, PubMed, Scopus, SportsDiscus, CINAHL, Health Source: Nursing/Academic, Health Source: Consumer Ed. and Cochrane were searched from inception to February 2019. Methodological quality was assessed using an adapted Downs and Black assessment tool.

Patients (or Participants) N/A (systematic review abstract).

Interventions (or Assessment of Risk Factors) Studies were included if they investigated injury and/or illness among TRs participating in training/racing and full-text available in English/French. Studies were excluded on biomarkers of injury/illness in the absence of participants reporting injury/illness, or if no clear evidence was found of investigating TR.

Main Outcome Measurements TR injury (incidence, prevalence, anatomical site, tissue type, specific diagnosis, severity) and illness (incidence, prevalence, symptoms, specific diagnosis, body system, severity).

Results Fourteen studies with 3094 participants were included. Six studies investigated injuries and illnesses, 3 studies investigated only injuries and 5 studies only illnesses. Twelve studies investigated race-related injury and/or illness and 2 studies included training-related injuries. Different study designs, injury and illness definitions, race distances, and surfaces, made pooling of results difficult. The foot, knee, ankle and thigh are the most common anatomical sites of TR injury, with lacerations/abrasions, blisters, muscle strains, cramping and ankle sprains most commonly diagnosed. TR illness involved the gastrointestinal tract (GIT), metabolic and cardiovascular body systems. Symptoms of nausea and vomiting related to GIT distress and dehydration are commonly reported.

Conclusions Injury and illness are common among TRs participating in TR races. Limited evidence is available on training-related injury and illness in TR specific.

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