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Does your age determine where you get injured?

If you've ever heard it said that a calf is 'an old man's injury' unfortunately there is some truth to that.

Whilst injury rates are similar between masters runners (> 40yrs old) and young runners at 49% v 45% yearly, our age does predict where and what type of injury we get.

Masters runners tend to suffer more soft tissue-based injuries, especially in areas relating to the calf (calf 10%, achilles 20%, plantar fascia 10%). This makes sense because as we age the load tolerance of our soft tissues decreases (approx 1% per year after age 32).

Conversely, our younger runners tend to suffer more bone and cartilage related injuries (knee 50%, shin splints 20%). This also makes sense as in younger runners bones haven't completely formed properly so the density of those bones is going to be less than their adult companions.

Managing bone stress injuries well is vital in younger runners - a previous bone stress injury increases your chance of re-injury by about 600%.

Predictability however is a good thing - age-appropriate prehab programs and load management strategies can help significantly reduce injury rates and the length of injuries themselves.