Running-related injuries (RRI) have become more prevalent as recreational running has gained popularity. The aetiology of RRI is considered to be multifactorial, and related to both intrinsic and extrinsic factors. This study describes the demographics, training habits, footwear selection, and injury patterns in recreational runners in the Australian community.
Recreational runners were recruited through community running events in New South Wales and completed self-report surveys, regarding footwear use, training habits, previous injuries, and demographic data. Descriptive statistics, correlations, and regression analyses were performed.
Ninety-five runners (56 females) were recruited. Mean age was 47.2 + 13.0 years, weight 75.4 + 19.0 kg and height 169.3 + 9.2cm. Runners completed 2.87 + 1.39 weekly running sessions, covering 19.48 + 17.0 km per week, most commonly on concrete (58.9%; n=56) and bitumen (51.5%; n=49).
Footwear was prescribed by a podiatrist or footwear retailer for 20% (n=19) of runners, with 57.9% (n=55) using a neutral shoe and 25.3% (n=24) using motion-controlling footwear. Asics was the most commonly worn footwear brand (24.2%; n=23) and Asics Kayano the most commonly worn shoe overall (10.5%; n=10). The average age of current running shoes was 11.33 + 10.1 months. Increased weekly mileage was associated with a lower shoe age (r=0.324, p=0.002).
The rate of RRI within three months prior to recruitment was 50% (n=49). The most common injury sites were the ankles (20%; n=13), feet (16.9%; n=11), and knees (15.4%; n=10). Foot orthoses were worn by 20% (n=19) of runners and use was associated with previous injury (r=0.242, p=0.019). One third (n=15) of runners who sustained a RRI reported seeing a health professional, most commonly podiatrists (n=4) and physiotherapists (n=4). Those who saw a health professional were more likely to wear foot orthoses (r=0.441, p=0.002), and to have less time-loss from running, however this did not reach statistical significance (r=-0.272, p=0.061).
Discussion and Clinical Relevance
Injuries are common among Australian recreational runners. Injured runners frequently seek the advice of health professionals, and this behaviour may result in less time-loss due to injury, however further research with larger sample sizes is required to confirm this.