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Papers of the Week

2022 Jan

Arthrosc Sports Med Rehabil



Injury Prevention, Safe Training Techniques, Rehabilitation, and Return to Sport in Trail Runners.


Vincent HK, Brownstein M, Vincent KR
Arthrosc Sports Med Rehabil. 2022 Jan; 4(1):e151-e162.
PMID: 35141547.


This current concept, narrative review provides the latest integrated evidence of the musculoskeletal injuries involved with trail running and therapeutic strategies to prevent injury and promote safe participation. Running activities that comprise any form of off-road running (trail running, orienteering, short-long distance, different terrain, and climate) are relevant to this review. Literature searches were conducted to 1) identify types and mechanisms of acute and chronic/overuse musculoskeletal injuries in trail runners, 2) injury prevention techniques most relevant to running trails, 3) safe methods of participation and rehabilitation timelines in the sport. The majority of acute and chronic trail running-related musculoskeletal injuries in trail running occur in the lower leg, primarily in the knee and ankle. More than 70% are due to overuse, and ankle sprains are the most common acute injury. Key mechanisms underlying injury and injury progression include inadequate neuromotor control-balance-coordination, running through fatigue, and abnormal kinematics on variable terrain. Complete kinetic chain prehabilitation programs consisting of dynamic flexibility, neuromotor strength and balance, and plyometrics exercise can foster stable, controlled movement on trails. Patient education about early musculoskeletal pain symptoms and training adjustment can help prevent injury from progressing to serious overuse injuries. Real-time adjustments to cadence, step length, and knee flexion on the trail may also mitigate impact-related risk for injury. After injury occurs, rehabilitation will involve similar exercise components, but it will also incorporate rest and active rest based on the type of injury. Multicomponent prehabilitation can help prevent musculoskeletal injuries in trail runners through movement control and fatigue resistance.