Running Injury Statistics

A lot of runners, especially those new to the sport, have a fear of getting injured. I’m not surprised – it is a high impact sport and the injury rates are higher than in many other sports. I recently came across some interesting statistics on running injury rates and I thought you all might find them interesting, too.

For starters, runners get an average of 4 injuries per 1,000 hours of running. This means that if you are running 5-10 hours per week, you could potentially get 2 injuries per year. Further, epidemiological studies estimate that between 19% and 79% of runners sustain an overuse injury in a 1 year period. Recurrence of injuries is also common: 20 – 70% of injuries will come back.

So what gets injured the most? The knee has it with 42% of running injuries occurring in the knee. Second is the foot and ankle at 17%, followed by the lower leg at 13% and the hip/pelvis at 11%.

There are many factors that come into play in determining who gets injured. These include: age, gender, flexibility, strength, total weekly mileage, footwear, training surface, training intensity, sleep deprivation, biomechanics, medications, dehydration or glycogen depletion, and previous injuries. Each of these factors could take up their own blog post, so I will refrain from boring you with the long details of each just now.

I don’t mean to frighten you with these statistics, but we must recognize that running is a high-injury sport, especially when you do not train smart. Learning how to train properly, how to increase your miles gradually, and how to do exercises and cross-training activities that can help prevent you from getting injured is essential if you want to be a successful long-term runner. Learning how to train smart can mean the difference between being on the injured list all the time and becoming a lifelong runner.

4 Responses to “Running Injury Statistics”

  1. Lazaro September 30, 2011 at 7:12 pm #

    Thank you for this useful information about running injury statistics. You are right there are lots of factors that can cause this injury. But I think the main factor will be the age. Only my thought…

  2. Dave July 6, 2012 at 12:23 pm #

    I’d be interested in knowing where you got these statistics, since I’m writing a book proposal on preventing and treating running-related injuries. Thank you. – Dave

    • She Runs Strong July 8, 2012 at 7:15 am #

      Hi Dave,

      These are my references:

      Mechelen, W. American Journal of Sports Medicine, 21(5), 1993.
      van Gent, et al. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 41:469-480, 2007
      Taunton, JE, et al. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 36:95-101, 2002.



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