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Running Injuries - Changing Trends and Demographics

Fields, Karl B. MD

doi: 10.1249/JSR.0b013e31822d403f
Sport-Specific Illness and Injury

Running injuries are common. Recently the demographic has changed, in that most runners in road races are older and injuries now include those more common in master runners. In particular, Achilles/calf injuries, iliotibial band injury, meniscus injury, and muscle injuries to the hamstrings and quadriceps represent higher percentages of the overall injury mix in recent epidemiologic studies compared with earlier ones. Evidence suggests that running mileage and previous injury are important predictors of running injury. Evidence-based research now helps guide the treatment of iliotibial band, patellofemoral syndrome, and Achilles tendinopathy. The use of topical nitroglycerin in tendinopathy and orthotics for the treatment of patellofemoral syndrome has moderate to strong evidence. Thus, more current knowledge about the changing demographics of runners and the application of research to guide treatment and, eventually, prevent running injury offers hope that clinicians can help reduce the high morbidity associated with long-distance running.

Cone Health Sports Medicine Fellowship, Greensboro, NC; and Department of Family Medicine, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, NC

Address for correspondence: Karl B. Fields, MD, Moses Cone Sports Medicine Fellowship, Greensboro, NC (E-mail:

© 2011 American College of Sports Medicine