Detailed guides to painful problems, treatments & more

A running joke 

 •  • by Paul Ingraham
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Weekly nuggets of pain science news and insight, usually 100-300 words, with the occasional longer post. The blog is the “director’s commentary” on the core content of a library of major articles and books about common painful problems and popular treatments. See the blog archives or updates for the whole site.

Photo of a male runner.
A new study of why runners get injured, Dillon et al, concludes that things like strength, flexibility, foot position, and asymmetry had nothing obvious to do with it. Alex Hutchinson wrote about the study for Outside:

A recent journal article on running injuries starts with this gem as its first sentence: “Runners are subject to a high incidence of lower extremity injury of between approximately 20% to 80%.” This pseudo-stat, which originated in a 2007 systematic review by Dutch researchers, is a kind of running joke among researchers in the field—an opening line that admits that we basically don’t know anything about who gets injured and why.

…if you do get injured, don’t be too hard on yourself: despite what your therapist may tell you with the benefit of hindsight, nobody really saw it coming.

A running joke. •chef’s kiss•

And why would your therapist overconfidently tell you why you got injured, and get it wrong? Because of the widespread dogmatic overemphasis on structural and biomechanical factors as major risk factors in injury. Although receding at the pace of melting glaciers, this mistake remains prevalent despite being constantly undermined by the evidence since before I began my career (in other words, quite a long dang time now). See Your Back Is Not Out of Alignment: Debunking the obsession with alignment, posture, and other biomechanical bogeymen as major causes of pain.