Increased injury risk in short, middle and long distance female runners.

Kosciuk, Anna and Swann, Nicola (2019) Increased injury risk in short, middle and long distance female runners. In: Women in Sport and Exercise Academic Network Conference 2019; 11th-12th June 2019, St Mary's University, Twickenham. (Unpublished)


Background: Running-related injuries constitute a major health concern, especially with increases in recreational running and a growing number of distance running events. To date, literature broadly suggests that females could be at greater risk of sustaining traumas than males but specific risk factors are unclear. Aim: To investigate effects of gender and weekly distance on lower extremity injury prevalence in runners. Methods: A retrospective cohort study was designed to investigate the prevalence of running-related injuries and establish trends in short, middle- and long-distance runners. Anonymised self-reported data relating to 386 females and 614 males who attended a sports clinic for footwear prescription were sampled and analysed. Both injured and non-injured individuals were included. Results: Runners in all population groups were found to be at a very high risk of running-related traumas (80.5%-86.9%) but females reported greater injury rates than males in each distance group, with the greatest difference observed in middle distance runners (females 91.5%, males 76.0%). Knee injuries were the most common traumas reported by each population, followed by the foot and shank. A significantly higher number of hip injuries were reported by females than males. Conclusion: Overall, females were found to be at a high, and significantly greater, risk of running-related issues compared to males, which was not explained by training habits. Although males and females showed similarity in patterns of injury, we hypothesise that the underlying pathway of those injuries might differ between runners due to variety of internal factors associated with gender. Further research should focus on investigating how foot and lower limb mobility, body anatomy as well as hormonal status affects movement biomechanics in females to develop strategies to protect females from running related issues through exercise, footwear recommendation and gait education.

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