Athletes with microtrauma or overuse injuries resulting from an accumulation of repeated small forces may differ from athletes with macrotrauma or acute injuries in their psychosocial responses because of the unique challenges presented by these insidious-onset and often chronic injuries. Our purpose was to use narrative inquiry to examine the psychosocial experiences and responses of 10 long-distance runners who had experienced microtrauma injuries. Qualitative data analysis of interview data led to a chronological timeline of the injury experience and an assessment of the meaning attributed to these injury experiences using a variation of Mishler’s core-narrative approach. Participants reported distinct thoughts, feelings, and behaviors during each phase of the injury—pre-injury, injury onset, and outcome. In the pre-injury period, participants indicated specific running-related goals and attributed their injuries to overtraining or a change in training. During the injury onset phase, participants consistently indicated two themes: self-diagnosis and treatment, and not taking time off. Within the outcome phase of injury, participants acknowledged changed training because of the injury, and lessons learned from their injury experiences. The narratives of microtrauma-injured runners revealed psychosocial distress and behavioral tendencies post-injury that have important implications for runners, coaches, and healthcare professionals.
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