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Hip and core exercise programme prevents running-related overuse injuries in adult novice recreational runners: a three-arm randomised controlled trial (Run RCT)

Abstract

Objective This study aims to investigate the efficacy of two exercise interventions in reducing lower extremity (LE) injuries in novice recreational runners.

Methods Novice runners (245 female, 80 male) were randomised into hip and core (n=108), ankle and foot (n=111) or control (n=106) groups. Interventions were completed before running and included exercise programmes focusing on either (1) hip and core or (2) ankle and foot muscles. The control group performed static stretching exercises. All groups were supervised by a physiotherapist and performed the same running programme. Injuries and running exposure were registered using weekly questionnaires during the 24-week study. Primary outcome was running-related LE injury.

Results The incidence of LE injuries was lower in the hip and core group compared with the control group (HR 0.66; 95% CI 0.45 to 0.97). The average weekly prevalence of overuse injuries was 39% lower (prevalence rate ratio, PRR 0.61, 95% CI 0.39 to 0.96), and the prevalence of substantial overuse injuries was 52% lower (PRR 0.48, 95% CI 0.27 to 0.90) in the hip and core group compared with the control group. No significant difference was observed between the ankle and foot group and control group in the prevalence of overuse injuries. A higher incidence of acute injuries was observed in the ankle and foot group compared with the control group (HR 3.60, 95% CI 1.20 to 10.86).

Conclusion A physiotherapist-guided hip and core-focused exercise programme was effective in preventing LE injuries in novice recreational runners. The ankle and foot programme did not reduce LE injuries and did not protect against acute LE injuries when compared with static stretching.

  • Running
  • Sporting injuries
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Recreation
  • Accident Prevention

Data availability statement

Data are available on reasonable request.

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