Mend Physical Therapy Blog and Injury Information

Runners With Previous Injury Are Twice As Likely To Sustain Future Injury

March 6, 2021


It is rare to find a runner who has not experienced an injury in the past requiring them to miss training or competition. Previous authors have reported over 90% of runners report a running related injury and the vast majority of these runners return to running before they are symptom free. This is a common story among injured runners in our Boulder Physical Therapy practice indicating patients have not restored the injured tissue’s capacity through strength training and activity modification to tolerate the forces in running. This can lead to either a sustained time off from their sport or an episodic history of pain which waxes and wanes based on their level of run training. A recent prospective study highlights the increased risk of future running related injury among this group of previously injured runners.

Desai and colleagues in the Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy recently published their findings (2021). Authors followed over 200 recreational runners (averaged at least 15 km/week during the previous year) who reported running related injuries over the course of a year. Close to half of the runners reported a running related injury, most common in the knee or achilles tendon, during the study period. When these runners were examined they found previous injury was a strong risk factor for future injury. Specifically, previously injured runners were twice as likely to experience another injury during the study period compared to their peers who did not sustain a previous study period.

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