Why 9 Out of 10 Runners Suffer Injuries
It’s a startling statistic.
Running injuries are so extremely common that some statistics estimate that as many as 90 percent of runners miss training time every year due to injury.
But a new study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine suggests that being light on your feet could keep most runners healthy.
Past studies have blamed running injuries on everything from excess body weight to modern running shoes to rough pavements. These researchers decided to study those who have run for a long time but had never been hurt. Specifically, they set out to look at pounding, or impact loading, which means the amount of force that we create when we strike the ground. The team recruited 249 experienced female recreational runners, chosen in part because they all struck the ground with their heels when they ran. Most runners are heel strikers, and heel striking is believed by many running experts to cause higher impacts than landing near the middle or front of the foot, possibly contributing to an increased risk of injuries.
During the two years that researchers tracked them, more than 100 of the runners reported sustaining an injury that was serious enough to require medical attention. Another 40 or so reported minor injuries. Remarkably, 21 of the runners not only did not become injured during the two-year study but also had not had a prior injury.
Further investigation revealed that the never-injured runners, as a group, landed far more lightly than those who had been seriously hurt -- even when the researchers controlled for running mileage, body weight and other variables.
The study authors advise runners to consciously think about “a soft landing,” or put another way -- imagine that you are running over eggshells.