Dr David Hughes Bio

David Hughes Bio
Position/Title Chief Medical Officer

Academic Qualifications
Diploma in Sports Medicine (London),
Duties/Responsibilities - Oversees the day-to-day functioning of the Department of Sports Medicine
- Collaborating with national and international sporting organisations in the formulation of policies related to sports medicine, sports science and medical integrity
- Medical Director, Australian Olympic Team for Rio 2016
Research Interests - The role of iron in high-performance exercise
- Genetic predisposition of bone and tendon overload injuries

Injury Prevention Tips

Dr David Hughes, Chief Medical Officer of the Australian Institute of Sport has written some Injury Prevention Tips for you, to help you stay fit and healthy during your training, and help prevent injury. 

Preventing running injuries in the lead up to an event

Running-induced injuries are common; depending on the population of runners studied and the definition of running related injuries used, incidence rates range between 18.2 and 92.4 %, and prevalence rates range between 6.8 to 59 injuries per 1,000 hours of running. 

The most common injuries sustained by long-distance runners are Achilles tendinopathy, IIliotibial Friction Syndrome (ITBS) and Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (including bone stress injuries of the shin). The identification of risk factors for these injury types in runners remains controversial, with conflicting results published in the literature. 

Research that examines new approaches to reducing the number of days lost to training through injury or illness and research that examines mechanisms that have the potential to change injury or illness management are a priority for the Australian elite sport sector.

There are a number of systematic reviews of the evidence regarding the cause of running injuries, but unfortunately there is little consensus between the reviews. Some research studies show differences in injury rates when examining variables such as orthotics, absolute running load per week and body mass index. None of these factors however demonstrate a consistent absolute increase in susceptibility to injury, across all studies.

Best running injury evidence

  • Previous injury in the last 12 months predisposes to subsequent injury
  • Running more than 6-7 sessions per week increases the risk of Achilles tendon injury
  • Running less than 30km/week when preparing for a marathon increases the risk of becoming injured during a marathon event
  • Sudden increase in running load predisposes to injury.

To avoid injury

  • Runners should ensure they have recovered from a previous injury before training again. This can decrease the risk of a subsequent injury in the next 12 months.
  • Runners should increase load gradually, when preparing for an event; too many kilometres too quickly often leads to injuries.


The AIS is conducting cutting edge research into running injuries, involving the biggest cohort of participants from the Australian running community. To participate please click here to fill out the survey and potentially be involved in cutting edge genetic research from your own lounge room.