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BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2018 Oct 13;19(1):370. doi: 10.1186/s12891-018-2296-z.

Overuse injuries in Swedish elite athletics- a study protocol for a prospective multifactorial cohort study.

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Center for Health and Performance, Department of Food and Nutrition, and Sport Science, University of Gothenburg, Box 300, 405 30, Gothenburg, Sweden.
Department of Orthopaedics at Institute of Clinical Sciences, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Göteborgsvägen 31, 431 80, Mölndal, Sweden.
Center for Health and Performance, Department of Food and Nutrition, and Sport Science, University of Gothenburg, Box 300, 405 30, Gothenburg, Sweden.



Overuse injuries (OI) are common in elite athletics. Previous studies have had athletes self-report injuries rather than having a medical professional provide a clear diagnosis. This might be a major reason for the inconsistencies in reported incident proportions of OI in elite athletics, in addition to the varying definitions of OI in current literature. Risk factors or combinations of risk factors (biomechanical, clinical, and training-related) have been shown to be important in the developmental process of OI. However, no studies have examined these relationships using a multifactorial and prospective approach in elite athletics. The purpose of this study protocol is to describe OI incidence proportion, injury severity, location, and occurrence during a complete athletics season. Moreover, possible discipline specific and injury specific risk factors that might be associated with OI will be examined.


This study will be an explorative prospective cohort study including approximately 120 elite athletes. All athletes will be screened twice during one complete athletics season. The screening will consist of a body composition scan to measure muscle mass, fat free mass, lean mass, bone density, and bone mineral content. In addition, clinical examination will measure range of motion for the lower back, hip, knee, shoulder, and elbow and ankle joints. A running analysis will measure the 3D motions of the hip, knee, and ankle joints. Finally, maximal isometric strength tests of the main core and lower extremity muscles will be carried out. To record injuries, each athlete will consult a physiotherapist or sports medicine doctor affiliated with the study to get a clear diagnosis. Injury data will be recorded according to the previously published athletics consensus statement.


Results from this study protocol will contribute more insight and detailed knowledge regarding the extent of OI occurrence among elite athletes during a complete athletics season. It will also provide further insights into which risk factors are associated with the development of OI in elite athletics.


Athletics; Biomechanics; Elite sport; Injury prevention; Overuse injuries

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