The prevalence of lower extremity injuries in running and associated risk factors: a systematic review

Jade Dempster, Frédéric Dutheil, Ukadike Chris Ugbolue*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Citations (Scopus)
105 Downloads (Pure)


Introduction: Running is an extremely popular pastime and competitive sport. There is a general consensus that runners present a high incidence of injury. This study aims to discover the prevalence of injury to the lower extremity among runners and any associated risk factors which correlate with the development of lower extremity injuries.
Methods: An inclusion and exclusion criteria were used to screen search results. From an original 184 search results, 24 research papers were selected for the final study. The PRISMA checklist was adhered to in the research process. EndnoteX9 was used to filter through all search results and to achieve the final study selections, in line with the appropriate criteria.

Results: Overall, a mean incidence of 37% was displayed for running related injuries to the lower extremity. Females displayed a greater mean incidence of injury than males, 39.7% vs 34.3%. Injury prevalence presented greatest at the knee region (24.3%), but this differed when results were split into male and females. Females presented the greatest prevalence of injury at the calf/lower leg, whilst males presented greatest incidence of injury at the hip/pelvis/upper leg region. Risk factors for developing injury which were identified throughout the research included; having <5 years running experience, being previously injured in the last 12 months and running >3 times per week.

Conclusion: This systematic review is in agreement with the literature which has repeatedly illustrated that female runners present a greater incidence of injury than male runners.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-145
Number of pages13
JournalPhysical Activity and Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jul 2021


  • running related injury
  • lower limb injury
  • injury risks
  • runners
  • injury prevalence


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