The prevalence of running injuries in marathons makes it essential for both athletes and clinicians to gain an understanding of the internal and external factors that are responsible for increasing the risk of injury.
Appropriate training and preventative programmes need to be formulated to help the athlete achieve the most out of their performance while avoiding the loss of significant training time.
Thomas Stöggl and Tobias Wunsch, from the Department of Sport Science and Kinesiology at the University of Salzburg, established that running distance is one of the strongest risk factors associated with injury; this includes sudden increases in running mileage or change in training volume/intensity.
This makes it necessary for runners to ensure they continually increase their weekly volume in the weeks leading up to the marathon in order to develop better muscle strength and endurance and reduce the risk of injury.
The authors further identified previous musculoskeletal injuries as increasing the predisposition of an individual to re-injuries in the long term, that is, if the athlete makes an early return to running events without allowing for full recovery.
An athlete’s level of experience can also determine their capability to recover from an injury, with studies reporting that runners with a running experience of more than 10 years are more likely to recover faster than amateur runners.
Nicola et al. further highlighted the need for evaluating intrinsic and extrinsic factors in the designing of individualised rehabilitation plans by outlining specific determining factors such as running terrain, shoes, bodyweight, age and alteration in training.
The authors recommend that underlying risk factors such as strength and flexibility deficits need to be addressed through training aimed at improving flexibility of the iliotibial band, hamstring, hip flexors and gastrocsoleus complex.
The additional stress of an abnormal foot posture on the kinetic chain can facilitate the onset of overuse injuries because of the unhealthy movement of the body in conjunction with the repetitive movements of the lower limbs required while running.
A customised orthotic intervention in the form of MASS4D® foot orthotics should be incorporated as part of a preventative programme to reduce excessive pronation in runners in order to improve their performance and protect them from musculoskeletal disorders in the long-term.
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