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Bruno Saragiotto, Ph.D. Candidate Discusses Running Injuries

1. Please introduce yourself to the readers (how you started in the profession,education, credentials, experience, etc.)

My name is Bruno Saragiotto, I’m a physiotherapist. I have worked the last 4 years in the field of sports and running injuries as a clinician. I have completed my master degree about running injuries in 2013 at Universidade Cidade de São Paulo, Brazil. Currently, I’m a PhD student at The George Institute for Global Health, University of Sydney, Australia and I have been studying low back pain, physical exercise, and evidence based practice.

2. You recently published address the perceptions of what causes injuries in runners. What do we know are risk factors and causes of injuries in runners?

According to a recent systematic review from our running research group, the main risk factors for running injuries are previous injury and higher running distances (especially higher than 60km per week), although many risk factors had been investigated in the literature.

3. What did your study look at?

We investigated the beliefs and opinions of runners about risk factors associated with running injuries.

4. What were the results of your study?

The most frequently stated factors leading torunning injuries mentioned by recreational runners were related to training habits and running shoes, such as not stretching, excessive running, not wearing the correct running shoe, and foot-type changes. Many runners also mentioned the body’s limits and the importance of respecting their bodies when running. We also noted that most runners’ beliefs are not supported by the research literature, such as the practice of stretching and characteristics of running shoes.

5. How can clinicians better educate runners on the risk factors of injuries?

Runners need to know what the risk factors for running injuries are. Clinicians can educate runners focusing on teaching them how to respect their bodies, not overstressing, and respecting the presence of pain. This seems obvious but many runners ignore pain and other signs that there is something wrong in our body.

Some examples related to beliefs that we found in our study:

1) It seems that runners confuse warming up before exercise with stretching. They need to understand the differences between stretching exercises, which seem not to be effective in prevention, and warming up to increase the body’s temperature preparatory to exercise, which may reduce injury risk.

2) Runners expressed great concern about the type of running shoes as well as the foot type.According to the literature there is still no evidence about either the efficacy of special running shoes to prevent injuries, or foot type changes as a risk factor. According to the currently evidence, runners should choose their running shoes based on comfort, cost, and personal preferences. Finally, if clinicians use the principles of evidence-based practice (high quality evidence, personal experience, and patience preferences) they can be in the right path to help runners prevent injuries.

6. What can runners do to limit injuries?

I think runners can be more careful with their training routine and try to pay more attention in their bodies. Also, runners need to be more critical with the information received from the media (ie, magazines, internet, and television).

7. Who is doing the most interesting research currently in your field? What are they doing?

Dr Irene Davis has contributed a lot investigating biomechanics and running shoes, and Dr Rasmus Nielsen has been exploring the risk factors and prevention strategies for running injuries. Dr Alexandre Lopes leads one of the only research groups focused only on running injuries and they have been performing some important work on injury surveillance and prevention. Luiz Carlos Hespanhol Junior is a promising researcher in the field of running injury epidemiology and prevention.

8. What makes your research different from others?

I just do what I like. I try to contribute to my area to help people and professionals. Our study was the first to investigate beliefs of runners, and I believe this may contribute to the field of running injury prevention.I hope more researchers start looking for beliefs and attitudes of runners.

9. Which teachers have most influenced your research?

Dr Alexandre Lopes and Dr Leonardo Costa from Brazil have contributed a lot to my personal and professional development. Prof Chris Maher and Dr Anne Moseley from Australia are my current supervisors and I have been learning a lot with them and improving my academic skills.

10. What research or projects are you currently working on or should we look from you in the future?

In our running research group, we just finished a systematic review and a Delphi consensus study about definition of running injury that might be published next year. In my current research group we are looking to exercise interventions for low back pain that should be published soon.

Follow Bruno Saragiotto on Twitter @fisio_bruno