Background: Sports injuries are often described as overuse or traumatic. Little is known about the frequency of overuse injuries and, in particular, if they vary between different types of sporting activities.
Purpose: To identify any differences between sports in relation to diagnoses of overuse injuries of the extremities (OIE) and anatomical areas most likely to be injured in adults and to compare these findings with those reported in youngsters, as identified in a previous review.
Methods: A search was made in May 2015 and again in April 2016 in PubMed, SportDiscus, PsycInfo, and Web of Sciences. Search terms were « overuse injuries OR cumulative trauma disorders OR musculoskeletal injuries » AND « extremity OR limb » AND « physical activity OR sport OR risk factor OR exercises ». Inclusion criteria were: 1) prospective, or cross-sectional study design; 2) at least 1/3 of the population should be ≥ 19 years; 3) articles must clearly state if reported cases were classified as traumatic or overuse injuries in relation to a particular sports type, 4) sample size >50, and 5) articles must not deal with specific occupational subpopulations nor with clinical populations. A blinded systematic review was conducted and results reported per anatomical site of injury and diagnosis for the different sports.
Results: In all, 10 of 1435 identified articles were included, studying soccer, beach-volleyball and triathlon. In general, the incidence estimates were low, never above 2.0/1000 h of practice, similar to results seen in children/adolescents. The incidence estimates and the diagnoses of OIE were given only in 4 articles on soccer, making comparisons between sports impossible. As in children/adolescents, the lower limb is more often affected than the upper but contrary to young people the injured site in adults is more often the knee and above, and there were also differences in the diagnoses for the two age groups.
Conclusion: The literature does not permit to identify clearly the difference in the incidence of OIE for different sports showing that more but well-designed surveillance studies are needed.
Author keywords: Cumulative trauma disorders — Overuse injuries — Sports type — Extremities — Epidemiology — Adults
Author affiliations: CIAMS, Université Paris-Sud, Université Paris-Saclay, Paris, France; CIAMS, Université d'Orléans, Orléans, France; Institut Franco-Européen de Chiropraxie, Toulouse, France
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