Running Injuries: Risk Factors

Psychosocial Factors 

First off, what are psychosocial factors? Well, they refer to any psychological or environmental factors that may affect how you feel and your performance. 

For people who run, we need to consider how you think about your training. Are you an ‘all or nothing’ type of person? Do you tend to think, “go hard or go home”? If so, this may put you in the category of being at risk of injury! This is simply because you are more likely to over train or push yourself when you know you shouldn’t. It is OK to give yourself a break sometimes, and it may help your performance rather than hinder it. 


Diet is so important, especially for those who run, or exercise, as we need enough energy to fuel our bodies. We also need enough energy and the right nutrients to prevent serious conditions such as stress fractures of the bone.  

Our clinical lead of Dietetics & Nutrition, Michelle, has written a really informative blog on what you should be doing to fuel yourself correctly for exercise and you can read that here. Also over at Spectrum Nutrition, you can read some tips on what to eat after a run.


Anyone who knows me knows that sleep is an obsession of mine. There has been mountains of research on how sleep is essential for all of our bodily functions, especially recovery. Now I don’t believe there is a lot of research regarding sleep and running injury risk, however, from the research that is available, there may be a correlation. And there are studies that show it definitely is a risk factor in adolescent populations. Lack of sleep in this population may be associated with poor muscle control, and sleep is also vital for hormone release in this age group. 


What do I mean by load? Load can be any of the factors seen in the image below. 

running physio load.jpg

I really like this image – it is from Tom Goom’s website – The Running Physio. It looks at what loads we are placing on the tissue (training load) vs our tissue’s ability to handle those loads (tissue load capacity).  

Essentially, we need to ensure that our body and our tissues can handle what stresses we put on it. And if we are not doing this, it puts us at risk of injury. For example, if you run a lot and are increasing mileage without working on some of the other factors (tissue load capacity), you may well be setting yourself up for injury. 

This is individual to everyone, and we know some people react differently to loads and stresses. So, for a more individualized assessment, book in to see a physiotherapist! 

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