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Context: Various epidemiological studies have estimated that up to 70% of runners sustain an overuse running injury each year. Although few overuse running injuries have an established cause, more than 80% of running-related injuries occur at or below the knee, which suggests that some common mechanisms may be at work. The question then becomes, are there common mechanisms related to overuse running injuries?
Evidence Acquisition: Research studies were identified via the following electronic databases: MEDLINE, EMBASE PsycInfo, and CINAHL (1980–July 2008). Inclusion was based on evaluation of risk factors for overuse running injuries.
Results: A majority of the risk factors that have been researched over the past few years can be generally categorized into 2 groups: atypical foot pronation mechanics and inadequate hip muscle stabilization.
Conclusion: Based on the review of literature, there is no definitive link between atypical foot mechanics and running injury mechanisms. The lack of normative data and a definition of typical foot structure has hampered progress. In contrast, a large and growing body of literature suggests that weakness of hip-stabilizing muscles leads to atypical lower extremity mechanics and increased forces within the lower extremity while running
Re: Suspected Mechanisms in the Cause of Overuse Running Injuries
Medical News Today, have put this spin on the research: Weakened Hip Muscles Common Reason For Overuse Running Injuries
As most runners know, aches and pains are a common part of training. However, according to a study published in the May/June issue of Sports Health: A Multidisciplinary Approach, the real culprit for overuse running injuries, such as patellofemoral pain syndrome, iliotibial band syndrome, and Achilles tendonitis may have more to do with weakened hip muscles than how many miles run.
"Various studies have estimated that up to 70 percent of runners sustain an overuse running injury each year with more than 80 percent of those injuries occurring below the knee. Based on a literature review, it appears that foot pronation (how one steps) and inadequate hip muscle stabilization are the top categories for injury," said lead author Reed Ferber, Assistant Professor and Director of the Running Injury Clinic from the University of Calgary. "Hip muscle weakness especially appears to lead to atypical lower extremity mechanics and increases forces on knees and feet while running."
The study analyzed data from 1980 through July 2008 in MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsychInfo and CINAHL clinical databases. Information inclusion focused on studies that were directly related to risk factors for overuse.
One of the studies analyzed in the review suggested that after 4-6 weeks of strength training, 22 of 24 runners experienced significant decrease in pain and a 35-51 percent increase in hip abductor strength. "These results suggest that hip strengthening rehabilitation programs may be an effective way to lessen running overuse injuries," said Ferber Dr. Ferber recommends performing hip abductor strengthening exercises to prevent injury. Individuals should progress up to three sets of 10 repetitions gradually to avoid muscle soreness.