Background: Case research provides a rich source of data, which can be used to challenge and evaluate practice and to inform the development of new theories. The aims of this study were to review the methodologies, explore the published findings and to discuss their contribution to sports physiotherapy. Methods: A literature search was conducted using a systematic approach to the search, selection of papers and extraction of data. In total, 2468 records were screened of which 51 fully met the inclusion criteria. Results: Case research of the lower limb accounted for 55% of the literature of which 25% were knee injuries. Soccer, running, and basketball were the most frequently reported sports. Effects of intervention were described in 51% of cases, innovative approach in 27% and unusual findings in 22%. Only 8% of the reports dealt with unsuccessful cases. From a total of 51 papers, 25 were cited in further studies. Conclusions: An overlapping of definitions and lack of development rules can, together with published papers with low methodological strengths, limit the relevance of this research paper and subsequent impact of these research methods on practice. © 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved
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