During a recent 14-year study period, running-related injuries in children and adolescents ages 6 to 18 increased by 34 percent. Researchers at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, examined an estimated 225,344 cases for children who were treated in U.S. emergency rooms from 1994 through 2007, an average of more than 16,000 each year.
According to the study, which appeared recently in the medical journal Clinical Pediatrics, the majority of running-related injuries were sprains and strains to the lower extremities. One-third of the injuries involved a fall and more than half occurred at school.
The injuries varied by age. Younger children (6 to 14 years old) were more likely to be injured as the result of a fall and while running at school. Adolescents 15 to 18 years old, on the other hand, were more likely to sustain injuries while running in the street or at a sports-and-recreation facility.
“Encouraging children and adolescents to run for exercise is a great way to ensure that they remain physically active,” says Lara McKenzie, Ph.D., principal investigator at the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. However, she adds, formal age-specific guidelines are needed for young runners so that parents, coaches, and physical-education teachers can teach children the proper way to run to reduce the risk of injury.
Runnersworld.c om has great tips on how kids and teens can run safely.