September 2017

Online education helps reduce injuries in trail runners despite poor compliance

In the moment: Sports medicine

By Jordana Bieze Foster

An online program designed to educate trail runners about injury prevention is associated with a significant decrease in running-related injury rate, even if runners don’t significantly change their preventive behaviors, according to research from the Netherlands.

Investigators from VU University Medical Center provided 232 trail runners with basic advice about preventing running-related injuries. All runners filled out an online questionnaire regarding their injury status every two weeks; those randomized to the intervention group received automated online advice about injury management, while those in the control group did not.

After six months, the trail runners in the intervention group had reported 13% fewer running-related injuries than those in the control group. However, there was no significant difference between groups in terms of self-reported adherence to the injury prevention advice provided at baseline. The authors hypothesized that subtle but statistically insignificant improvements in some preventive behaviors may have combined for a protective effect in the intervention group.

The findings were epublished in late August by the British Journal of Sports Medicine.


Hespanhol LC Jr, van Mechelen W, Verhagen E. Effectiveness of online tailored advice to prevent running related injuries and promote preventive behavior in Dutch trail runners: a pragmatic randomized controlled trial. Br J Sports Med 2017 Aug 30. [Epub ahead of print]

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