Objective: To describe absenteeism and health care utilization (HCU) within 6 weeks after occurrence of running-related injuries (RRIs) among novice runners and to explore differences relating to injury and personal characteristics. Participants: One thousand six hundred ninety-six novice runners (18-65 years) participating in a 6-week running program ("Start-to-Run"). Main Outcome Measures: Injury characteristics were assessed by weekly training logs and personal characteristics by a baseline questionnaire. Data on absenteeism and HCU were collected using questionnaires at 2 and 6 weeks after the RRI occurred. Results: A total of 185 novice runners (11%) reported an RRI during the 6-week program. Of these injured novice runners, 78% reported absence from sports, whereas only 4% reported absence from work. Fifty-one percent of the injured novice runners visited a health care professional, mostly physical therapists (PTs) rather than physicians. Absenteeism was more common among women than men and was also more common with acute RRIs than gradual-onset RRIs. As regards HCU, both the variety of professionals visited and the number of PT visits were higher among runners with muscle-tendon injuries in the ankle/foot region than among those with other RRIs. Conclusions: Among novice runners sustaining an RRI during a 6-week running program, over three quarters reported short-term absence from sports, whereas absence from work was very limited, and over half used professional health care. Both absence and HCU are associated with injury characteristics.
This study examined the criterion validity of self-reported running-related injuries (RRI) by novice runners. Fifty-eight participants (41 females; age 46 ± 11 yrs) of the “Start-to-Run” program provided self-reports on their RRIs using an online questionnaire. Subsequently, they attended injury consultations with sports medicine physicians who provided physician-reports (blinded for the self-reports) as a reference standard. Self-reports and physician-reports included information on injury location (i.e., hip/groin, upper leg, knee, lower leg, and ankle/foot) and injury type (i.e., muscle-tendon unit, joint, ligament, or bone). Sensitivity, specificity, and positive predictive values were 100% for all five injury locations. For injury type, sensitivity was low (66% for muscle-tendon unit, 50% for ligament, and 40% for bone) and lowest for joint injuries (17%). In conclusion, the validity of self-reported RRIs by novice runners is good for injury locations but not for injury types. In particular for joint injuries, the validity of novice runners’ self-reports is low. Abbreviations: RRI: Running Related Injury; SMC: Sports Medicine Centre; MTU: Muscle Tendon Unit; PPV: Positive Predictive Value.