Objective: To synthesise the current evidence on the incidence of running-related injuries (RRI) and their association with training parameters (distance, duration, frequency, intensity), as well as recent changes in training parameters.
Data sources: Searches were conducted in Medline/Ovid, CINAHL, Embase and SportDiscus up to July 7, 2020.
Study selection: Included articles had to report prospective data on RRIs and training parameters, or any changes in parameters, and be published in English or French. Two reviewers independently screened titles, abstracts and full-texts.
Data extraction: Data extraction and quality assessment (QualSyst) were performed by two independent raters.
Data synthesis: Thirty-six articles totaling 23,047 runners were included. Overall, 6,043 runners (26.2%) sustained an RRI (incidence range: 8.8% to 91.3%). The incidence of RRI was 14.9% in novice runners (range: 9.4 to 94.9%), 26.1% in recreational runners (range: 17.9 to 79.3%) and 62.6% in competitive runners (range: 52.6 to 91.3%). The three most frequently injured body parts were the knee (25.8%), foot/ankle (24.4%) and lower leg (24.4%). Overall, there was conflicting evidence about the association between weekly running distance, duration, frequency, intensity or specific changes in training parameters and the onset of RRIs.
Conclusions: Despite high rates of RRIs, current evidence does not consistently link RRIs with specific training parameters or recent changes in training parameters. Therefore, caution should be taken when recommending optimal parameters or progressions. Given the multifactorial nature of RRIs, future studies also need to consider the interaction between training parameters, as well as psychosocial, hormonal, lifestyle and recovery outcomes to better understand the onset of RRIs.