Foot and lower limb diseases in runners: Assessment of risk factors

Francesco Di Caprio, Roberto Buda, Massimiliano Mosca, Antonino Calabrò, Sandro Giannini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present study analyzed the impact of the running style and the morphologic and functional characteristics of the foot on the incidence of non-traumatic foot and lower limb disorders in runners. From January 2004 to December 2008, we prospectively examined 166 runners, both recreational and competitive, involved in various running specialities, from three athletics clubs in Northern Italy. They were 86 males and 80 females, with a mean age of 31.1 ± 12.2 years. We considered nontraumatic foot and lower limb diseases reported during the follow-up period, which resulted in a minimum sport rest of two weeks. The incidence of these diseases was examined with respect to general characteristics, type of activity, foot morphology, running style. 59% of athletes reported one or more diseases. The most common were plantar fasciitis (31% of athletes) and Achilles tendinopathies (24%). Overall, the more prone to injuries were males (60.9% of cases), competitive runners (70.9%), middle-distance runners (51.7%), and those using spike shoes (80.3%). Age, body weight and height were not important predictors of running injuries in general. Considering the morphological characteristics of the foot, the most prone to injury were the varus hindfoot (87.5% of cases) and the cavus arch (71.4%). In conclusion, a deep knowledge of the factors predisposing runners to specific diseases, often chronic and highly debilitating for the athlete, may allow implementing effective therapeutic measures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)587-596
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Sports Science and Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010


  • Disease
  • Foot
  • Running

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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