Sports Medicine

, Volume 44, Issue 4, pp 473–486 | Cite as

Interventions to Prevent Sports Related Injuries: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomised Controlled Trials

  • Mari LeppänenEmail author
  • Sari Aaltonen
  • Jari Parkkari
  • Ari Heinonen
  • Urho M. Kujala
Systematic Review



The effects of methods to prevent injuries have been studied in several systematic reviews. However, no meta-analysis taking into account all randomised controlled intervention trials aiming at the prevention of sports injuries has been published.


To summarise the effects of sports injury prevention interventions.


Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials.

Data Sources

PubMed, MEDLINE, SPORTDiscus, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, CINAHL, PEDro, and Web of Science, searched in September 2013. The reference lists of retrieved articles and reviews were hand searched.

Eligibility Criteria for Selecting Studies

To be selected articles had to examine the effects of any preventive intervention on sports injuries, be randomised/quasi-randomised and controlled trials, published in a peer-reviewed journal. The outcome of the trial had to be injury rate or the number of injured individuals.


Of the 5580 articles retrieved after a search of databases and the relevant bibliography, 68 randomised controlled trials were included in the systematic review and 60 trials were included in the meta-analysis. Insoles (OR 0.51, 95 % CI 0.32–0.81), external joint supports (OR 0.40, 95 % CI 0.30–0.53), and specific training programmes (OR 0.55, 95 % CI 0.46–0.66) appeared to be effective in reducing the risk of sports injuries. Stretching (OR 0.92, 95 % CI 0.80–1.06), modified shoes (OR 1.23, 95 % CI 0.81–1.87), and preventive videos (OR 0.86, 95 % CI 0.44–1.68) seemed not to be effective.


This meta-analysis showed that certain interventions can reduce the risk of sports injuries. There were limitations regarding the quality of the trials, generalisability of the results, and heterogeneity of the study designs. In future, the mechanisms behind effective methods and the most beneficial elements of preventive training programmes need to be clarified.


Injury Prevention Electronic Supplementary Material Table Sport Injury Ankle Sprain Military Recruit 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



ML, SA, JP, AH, and UMK conceived and designed the study. ML and SA conducted the literature searches, data extraction and quality assessment of the included trials. ML performed the meta-analysis, analysed the data, and drafted the manuscript. SA, JP, AH, and UMK critically revised the manuscript for important intellectual content. All authors approved the final version of the manuscript. UMK is the guarantor.

Competing interests

All authors have completed the Conflict of Interest statement and declare: no support from any organisation for the submitted work; no financial relationships with any organisations that might have an interest in the submitted work in the previous three years; no other relationships or activities that could appear to have influenced the submitted work.

Ethical approval

Not required.

Data sharing

No additional data available.

Supplementary material

40279_2013_136_MOESM1_ESM.docx (87 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 87 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mari Leppänen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sari Aaltonen
    • 2
  • Jari Parkkari
    • 1
  • Ari Heinonen
    • 2
  • Urho M. Kujala
    • 2
  1. 1.Tampere Research Center of Sports MedicineUKK InstituteTampereFinland
  2. 2.Department of Health SciencesUniversity of JyväskyläJyväskyläFinland

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