In a new study from the University of Gothenburg, researchers found that almost half of all recreational runners incur injuries, mostly relating to knees, calves or Achilles tendons, and the level of risk is equally high whatever people’s age, gender or running experience.
In the study, the team tested over 200 recreational runners from the list of entrants for the Göteborgsvarvet Half Marathon and monitored them over a period of one year.
These people had been running for at least a year, have run an average of at least 15 km per week over the past year and have been injury-free for at least six months. The participants were men and women in the age range 18-55.
The team found a third of the participants were injured over the course of the study.
But some participants dropped out of the study, so it is reasonable to assume that almost half of all recreational runners injure themselves in a year.
The team used a particular statistical method to calculate the proportion of injured runners.
They found among those hit by injury, half had problems with their knees, calves or Achilles tendons.
No difference was found in terms of gender, age, running experience or weight between those who injured themselves and those who did not.
However, those who had previously been injured were more likely to be affected again.
All the participants were put through a series of physical tests before the study, ranging from strength tests and mobility tests to tests of running style.
The team found those who had relatively weak outer thighs faced a higher risk of injury. Those with late pronation in their running gait were also at higher risk.
However, having a weak torso or limited muscle flexibility was of no great significance.
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The study is a thesis within sport science. The author of the study is Jonatan Jungmalm.
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