Background Recreational runners have a high prevalence of running-related injury (RRI). Injury prevention and self-management of RRIs using digital technologies may be a way to enable continued participation and maintain positive health benefits.
Objective To explore attitudes of recreational runners towards prevention and self-management of RRI, including barriers and facilitators to digital methods supporting RRI prevention and self-management.
Design A qualitative design was conducted and data saturation achieved through five online focus groups conducted via Zoom.
Setting Recreational running community in Wales.
Patients (or Participants) 20 recreational runners aged 18+, distributed across 5 focus groups. All participants were selected from a subset of 233 runners who had participated in a survey mapping training and injury patterns in this population.
Assessment of Risk Factors All participants advised regarding protection of anonymity and confidentiality of information shared during focus groups. Transcripts were given to selected participants to ensure trustworthiness
Main Outcome Measurements Data were coded, organized into sub-themes and thematically analysed.
Results Recreational runners reported to prevent and self-manage injury using a range of means (e.g. stretches, massage, strength training and cross training). Runners sourced information from the internet, physiotherapists, running peers and coaches. Participants found online information overwhelming, expressing distrust in the information. Facilitators for use of digital platforms were the information evidence base, its trustworthiness and the ability to personalise the programme according to characteristics such as age, gender and injury history. Other factors potentially enhancing its uptake were simplicity, ease of use, accessibility and content (e.g. information on warm-ups, specific RRIs and examples of exercises for prevention and management).
Conclusions Recreational runners find online information about RRI prevention and self-management to be overwhelming, confusing and unreliable. Any future digital RRI prevention and self-management programmes should be simple to use while also providing evidence-based, reliable information and advice.
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