Trail running is an outdoor activity involving running on varying natural terrains, and often including large elevation gains and losses. Despite the positive health benefits of running and outdoor activities, trail running has a high risk of injury, and runners often participate in extreme weather conditions in remote regions where medical support is challenging. This highlights the need to establish injury risk management strategies among trail runners participating in races and in training. A study recently published by researchers at the University of Pretoria and SEMLI (the Sport, Exercise Medicine and Lifestyle Institute) aimed to determine the epidemiology, clinical characteristics, and associated injury risk factors among trail runners. They used a modified Oslo Sports Trauma Research Center Questionnaire for Health Problems (OSTRC-H) biweekly to collect running-related injury and training data prospectively from 152 participants over 30 weeks. The study found an overall injury rate of 19.6 running-related injuries per 1000 hours of running and a biweekly running-related injury (RRI) prevalence of 12.3%. The researchers also reported a significantly higher injury rate in males (12.7 RRIs per 1000 hours of running) compared to females (3.1 RRIs per 1000 h of running). Most running-related injuries occurred in the lower limb (82.9%), affecting the knee (29.8%), shin/lower leg (18.0%), and the foot/toes (13.7%). A history of previous RRI in the past 12 months and having a chronic disease were found to be independent risk factors for RRIs among the studied trail runners. The results of this study could be used to develop future RRI prevention strategies, combined with clinical knowledge and experience.
Reference: Viljoen, C.T.; Janse van Rensburg, D.C.; Verhagen, E.; van Mechelen,W.; Korkie, E.; Botha, T. Epidemiology, Clinical Characteristics, and Risk Factors for Running-Related Injuries among South African Trail Runners. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 12620.