Despite the health benefits of running, the prevalence of running-related injuries (RRI) remains high. The underlying risk factors between these injuries are still not well understood. Therefore, the aim of this study was to compare biomechanical, anthropometric, and demographic injury risk factors between different locations in injured recreational runners.
In this retrospective case–control analysis, 550 injured runners (49.6% female) with a medically diagnosed RRI were included. All runners had undergone an instrumented treadmill analysis to determine habitual footstrike pattern, vertical instantaneous load rate, peak vertical ground reaction force (vGRF) and cadence. Injuries were classified by location according to a recent consensus statement. A logistic regression model was used to determine the association between the biomechanical parameters and RRI locations. Because injuries can be associated with age, sex, and body mass index, these variables were also entered into the logistic regression.
Strike pattern and peak vGRF were the only biomechanical variable distinguishing an injury from the group of injuries. A midfoot strike differentiated Achilles tendon injuries (odds ratio [OR], 2.27; 90% confidence interval [CI], 1.17–4.41) and a forefoot strike distinguished posterior lower leg injuries (OR, 2.59; 90% CI, 1.50–4.47) from the rest of the injured group. Peak vGRF was weakly associated with hip injuries (OR, 1.14; 90% CI, 1.05–1.24). Female sex was associated with injuries to the lower leg (OR, 2.65; 90% CI, 1.45–4.87) and hip/groin (OR, 2.22; 90% CI, 1.43–3.45). Male sex was associated with Achilles tendon injuries (OR, 1.923; 90% CI, 1.094–3.378).
Sex, foot strike pattern, and vGRF were the only factors that distinguished specific injury locations from the remaining injury locations.