Running is promoted as a great exercise for becoming fit and healthy, for prolonging our lives and preventing or recovering from western lifestyle diseases. Unfortunately running is also associated with a very high percentage of injuries.
Because running is so good for our health it is very important to prevent injuries that restrict our ability to run (Fields, Sykes, Walker, & Jackson, 2010).
The fact that running is a natural form of human locomotion appears to be at odds with the
injury figures. It is therefore important to establish which are the common injuries associated with running and whether they can be prevented.
Statistics from the NZ Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) show a total of claims for
July 2012-June 2013 in excess of 29,000. Total cost for that year is $6.6m. These figures relate to all injuries incurred while jogging.
When isolating the injury search criteria to the ankle, foot, lower
leg and toes, the statistics show almost 15,000 for the same period for a total cost exceeding $2.3m.
Detailed statistics dating back to 2008 (www.acc.co.nz) are shown in Table 1.
|Financial Year||New Claims||Active Claims||Total Cost|
|Jul 2008 – Jun 2009||5991||6935||$2,476,667|
|Jul 2009 – Jun 2010||5927||7106||$2,232,642|
|Jul 2010 – Jun 2011||5521||7106||$1,885,636|
|Jul 2011 – Jun 2012||6092||7092||$2,042,763|
|Jul 2012 – Jun 2013||6756||7920||$2,343,444|
New and Active Claims for Running Related Injuries to Ankle, Foot, Lower Leg & Toes (adapted from ACC, 03/2014)
Clearly, jogging as a form of healthy exercise is proving very injurious for many people.
There have been various studies on injury rates in runners. Daoud, Geissler, Wang, Saretsky, Daoud, & Lieberman (2012) found that of the runners studied, 74% experienced moderate or serious injury each year. The most common injuries were: muscle strains (21.5%), medial tibial stress syndrome (13.8%), knee pain (7.7%), iliotibial band syndrome (7.2%) and Achilles tendinopathies (6.6%).
A study by Dias Lopes, Hespanhol Junior, Yeung, & Pena Costa, (2012) determined that the most frequent running-related injury among long distance runners was the medial tibia stress syndrome (shin splints), followed by achilles tendinopathy and plantar fasciitis.
Most injuries involved the knee (7.2%-50%), lower leg (9%-32.2%), foot (5.7%-39.3%) or
thigh (3.4%-38.1%). Their study analyzed eight previous studies which included 3500 marathon and ultra marathon runners.
The most common injuries according to Gallo, Plakke, & Silvis (2012) are the medial tibial stress syndrome (4.9%), achilles tendinopothy (4.8%), tibial stress fractures (3.3%) and gastroc/soleus strains/tears (1.3%).
The Accident Compensation Corporation.
Daoud, A. I., Geissler, G. J., Wang, F., Saretsky, J., Daoud, Y. A., & Lieberman, D. E. (2012). Foot strike and injury rates in endurance runners: a retrospective study. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 44(7), 1325-34.
Dias Lopes, A., Hespanhol Junior, L., Yeung, S. S., & Pena Costa, L. (2012). What are the Main Running-Related Musculoskeletal Injuries? Sports Medicine, 42(10), 891-905.
Fields, K. B., Sykes, J. C., Walker, K. M., & Jackson, J. C. (2010). Prevention of running injuries. Current sports medicine reports, 9(3), 176-182.
Gallo, R. A., Plakke, M., & Silvis, M. L. (2012). Common Leg Injuries of Long-Distance Runners Anatomical and Biomechanical Approach. Sports Health: A Multidisciplinary Approach, 4(6), 485-495.