Kids' running injuries on the rise, and how to prevent them.


by JEAN ENERSEN / KING 5 HealthLink

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Posted on July 30, 2011 at 6:30 AM

Updated Friday, Jan 4 at 10:45 AM

Whether the race course is short or long, in the sun or the pouring rain, more and more kids are turning out for running.

"Kids are starting in higher level of running activity at a younger age," said pediatrician Dr. Monique (Burton) Cahn. 

Dr. (Burton) Cahn is Interim Chief of Sports Medicine at Seattle Children's. She said more kids are competing in half marathons and even full marathons. Others just run for fun. But a new study shows more kids are getting hurt.

"1994 to 2007 there was a 34 percent increase in running-related injuries in an emergency room setting," explained Dr. (Burton) Cahn, citing a recent study in Clinical Pediatrics.

So how can you help your child come across the finish line in good health and ready to try again? Here are some tips for parents.

"They're in a program where they're gradually increasing their mileage. They are making sure that they're running in good running shoes, on good surfaces, that they're not increasing the intensity of their activity too much," said Dr. (Burton) Cahn.

She said for kids who are clocking more miles, a trip to a specialty running store makes sense.

"A good running store that can look at the fit for your shoe, a good running store that allows you to return your shoes if they're not fitting you well," she said.

Isabela Wilder's dad, who works at Super Jock 'N Jill, a running gear store, takes her running three times a week. She's been wearing running shoes since age 6, and feels the difference.

"They felt really comfortable, 'cause of the insole. And it also felt good while I was running," Wilder said.

There's another tip. Not all socks are alike.

"Usually a synthetic sock is polyester based. And that will wick the wetness away, keep the foot dryer, where cotton will absorb too much wetness," said Chet James, owner of Super Jock 'N Jill.

Parents should also heed warning signs of overuse injuries, such as recurrent pain. Then get help early.

"Some physical therapy, some modifications in your training schedule may be all you need to prevent that from becoming a bigger injury like a stress fracture," said Dr. (Burton) Cahn.

They're all tips that can keep kids active and fit.

Finally, Dr. (Burton) Cahn wants parents to remember that running can add to a child's sense of accomplishment but it should still be fun.