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Prehabilitation for recreational runners: motivators, influencers, and barriers to injury prevention strategies for running-related injury

Linton, Linda; Barr, Morag; Valentin, Stephanie


Linda Linton

Morag Barr


Injury prevention programs are effective when implemented in team sports, but many recreational runners have less access to such focused interventions or peer support and often seek other sources to learn about injury reduction strategies.

This study aimed to explore runners’ motivations in attending a prehabilitation (prehab) for runners workshop, establish their comprehension of prehab, and identify barriers to ongoing engagement with injury prevention.

Qualitative study using focus groups.

Participants and Setting:
Twenty-two runners participating in prehab for runners workshops took part in one of 4 focus groups, each recorded, transcribed, and analyzed using Grounded Theory to create codes, subthemes, and themes.

Four themes emerged: (1) Participation was influenced by experience of previous injury and worry of cessation of running. As the workshop ran weekly for 4 weeks, opportunity to see someone more than once who was also a physiotherapist influenced participation. (2) Runners welcomed clarification for online exercises and advice suggested for runners. They were surprised by the difficulty of single-leg neuromuscular facilitation exercises and reported benefit from most or all information especially non-exercise-based approaches such as load management, pain monitoring, and running cues. (3) Participants were empowered by a structured, holistic, and evidence-based approach that embraced autonomy for exercise self-selection and progression. Confidence to engage in open discussion was due to small group size. (4) Barriers to prehab were personal responsibility, equipment, time, lack of supervision, and peer influence.

A composite approach to strategies for injury risk reduction during prehab, combining progressive exercises with educational resources, can address runners’ individual needs. Early discussion of motivational tools on commencement of prehab with guidance from runners on how to incorporate prehab independently into running training is recommended. Providing these tools allows runners to self-identify the approach best suited to their personal running profile at that given time.

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date Feb 8, 2022
Publication Date 2022-07
Deposit Date Feb 8, 2023
Journal Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
Print ISSN 1056-6716
Electronic ISSN 1543-3072
Publisher Human Kinetics
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 31
Issue 5
Pages 544-553
Keywords load management, pain-monitoring tool, overuse injury, neuromuscular facilitation, running cues