How do training and competition workloads relate to injury?
Causes of athletic injury are numerous. Despite the interplay of risk factors or inciting biomechanical event, each athletic injury is sustained while athletes are exposed to training and competition workloads. Whilst sufficient workloads are necessary for positive adaptations and improved performance, a level beyond the individual’s tolerance significantly increases the vulnerability to injury. However, few studies have actually explained the underlying mechanism behind this association between workload and injury. The following paper proposes an updated etiology model that accounts for the effects of workloads on athletic injuries.
Within this updated injury etiology model, internal risk factors are differentiated into modifiable and non-modifiable factors, and workloads contribute to injury in three ways: (1) exposure to external risk factors and potential inciting events; (2) fatigue, or negative physiological effects, and; (3) fitness, or positive physiological adaptations. Exposure is determined solely by total load, while positive and negative adaptations are controlled both by total workloads, as well as changes in load. Total workloads, and more notably spikes in workloads (i.e. high acute:chronic workload ratios), are strongly associated with athletic injuries.
Better understanding how training loads relate to injury may assist clinicians in educating, and treating their patients with athletic injuries.
> From: Windt et al., Br J Sports Med (2016) (Epub ahead of print). All rights reserved to BMJ Publishing Group Ltd. Click here for the Pubmed summary.