Over the past 30 years, running has become a popular method of improving and maintaining one’s fitness. Along with increased participation comes an improved understanding of injury pattern and mechanism.
It has been estimated that 27-70% of recreational and competitive runners will sustain an injury in any given year of running (Hreijac & Ferber, 2006) Injury pattern data suggest that the knee is the most common anatomical site of injury followed by the leg, ankle and foot, respectively (Clement et al, 1981): Taunton et al, 2002. Approximately 80 – 85% of all injuries occur at the knee or below.
The most common running injuries include 1) patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS); 2) iliotibial band friction syndrome (ITBFS); 3) plantar fascitis (PF); 4) meniscal injuries (MI); 5: tibial stress syndrome (TSS); and Achilles (AchT) and patellar (PatT) tendinopathies (Taunton et al, 2002) When compared to their female counterparts, males reportedly suffer more PF, MI, AchT, PatT and gastrocnemius injuries. Coversely, females report suffering more PFPS, ITBFS, gluteus medius and sacroiliac injuries (Taunton et al, 2002; Ferber et al, 2003).
Apparent differences in running injury patterns between males and females have led scientists to try to identify biomechanical differences between male and female runners. In recent work by Ferber et al. (2003), the authors reported that female subjects exhibit significantly greater maximum hip adduction and internal rotation, and knee abduction angles. This finding has initiated interest in hip dynamics and muscular strength about the hip. Ferber has reported that many of his clients that present to his clinic exhibit hip muscle weakness and that symptoms markedly improve with rigorous hip muscle strengthening (Ferber et al, 2007).
Running is good for you! Studies show that it can increase the density of the cartilage in your knees and there is no conclusive evidence that running causes arthritis or joint degeneration. (Blais Dubois)