Strength Training

Youth Running: Benefits, Risks, & Considerations

Running is one of the best (coming from a runner) and easiest sports to take up in the world. Running is a major part of nearly every sport on the planet, making it an excellent option for our school-aged athletes. In 2017, almost 500,000 runners ran XC, and over 1 million athletes ran track. With the ease of access and a million different training techniques and training theories comes the risk of adverse effects. Over the last 10 years, we have seen a 34% increase in injuries incidence among runners.

Shin splints can be an precursor to stress fractures in young runners. Check out our  MTSS Blog Series  to prevent and rehab this common injury.

Shin splints can be an precursor to stress fractures in young runners. Check out our MTSS Blog Series to prevent and rehab this common injury.

It is estimated that 20-80% of runners will experience an injury in a given year. Random range, right? You try to find two studies that can agree on this! However, we do know that more than 50% of all pediatric sports injuries are due to overuse. We also know that overuse has is signs and symptoms and can be prevented.

What do we know about youth running? A lot actually. Let’s look at the facts and discuss how we can prevent future injuries so our young runners can enjoy a life-long relationship with this wonderful sport.

BENEFITS OF RUNNING FOR YOUTH ATHLETES

  • Great Cardiovascular Health.

  • Improved Cognitive Development.

    • Exercise increases metacognition, behavior regulation, and accelerates behavioral and emotional engagement.

  • Bone Health - Increased Bone Density

  • Positive Self Image & Emotional Wellbeing

  • Aids in Development of Total Athleticism.

 
Running injuries are common in youth-aged runners, but the benefits from frequent exercise, competition, and camaraderie far outweigh the risks.  Learn more about beginning running for health and fitness here.

Running injuries are common in youth-aged runners, but the benefits from frequent exercise, competition, and camaraderie far outweigh the risks. Learn more about beginning running for health and fitness here.

 

CURRENT TRENDS IN YOUTH RUNNING: INJURY RISKS

  • Accelerated Growth.

    • Peak height velocity (when children grow fastest, resulting in bones lengthen faster than muscles and tendons can keep up with) occurs around 12 for females and 14 for males.

    • Just before this rapid growth, bone mineral content is at its lowest, making bones and growth plates vulnerable to the load and stress of running.

  • Low Bone Mass For Age.

    • Affects 39% of female youth runners.

    • Might be the more likely cause of stress fractures than training load.

  • Low Energy Availability, Relative Energy Deficiency in Sports

    • Adolescence is a time of rapid growth with unmet energy demands…inadequate calorie intake with increased running demand can lead to abnormal menstrual function in females, bone mass depletion, and high risk of musculoskeletal injuries and stress fractures.

  • Males Commonly Suffer From Low Bone Mineral Density As Well.

    • Risk factors include being less than 85% weight for height, running over 30 miles per week, a history of stress fractures, and having a diet lacking in calcium-rich foods.

  • Answering ‘YES’ To The Following:

    • ‘do you believe that being thinner leads to faster running performances?’

    • BIG RED FLAG

  • Increased Anxiety or Avoidant Coping Strategies Such As Denial.

    • Perfectionism-related thoughts are associated with higher rates of depression, anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders, and eating disorders.

  • History Of Previous Running Injuries.

    • Strong indicators for in-season injuries are injuries during summer training (female) and history of previous running injury (males).

 
All Credit To The Authors. No CopyRight Violation Intended.  Full Article Access Here.

All Credit To The Authors. No CopyRight Violation Intended. Full Article Access Here.

 


HOW CAN WE PREVENT INJURY IN YOUTH RUNNERS:

To prevent injury, cross training is necessary. Recent data suggest that shorter intense bouts of activity like sprinting, other sports, and neuromuscular training are better for developing motor skills compared with endurance running. Remember, though they grow, they are still kids and need time to play. Play outside, play other sports, rest from play. Don’t forget that.

  • Strength Training #1 - Improved Core And Pelvic Strength Led To Faster Race Times.

    • A 6 week strength program aimed at pelvic and core strength led to improved race times. Strength training also leads to better weight control, improved motor performance skills, improved cardiovascular health, and enhanced psychosocial well-being…oh, and less sports-related injuries.

  • Strength Training #2 - Spine & Hip Strengthening.

    • Exercises aimed at the spine and hip muscles helped injured youth runners rehab from injury faster and prevented future occurrences of common running injuries such as Achilles tendinosis, iliotibial band syndrome, runner’s knee, plantar fasciitis, and shin splints.

  • Strength Training #3 - Strength Training For Runners Program.

  • Set Realistic Expectations - Know Age & Developmental Stage Capabilities.

    • Unrealistic expectations lead to athlete frustration, low self-esteem, burnout, and injury! This can lead to reclusiveness, depression, and loss of enjoyment.

  • Monitor Youth Runners For Signs Of Burnout.

    • Students athletes who withdraw from activities they previously enjoyed may be experiencing chronic stress and burnout from their sport. This leads to more complicated issues if unaddressed, like depression, obsessive-compulsiveness, and eating disorders.

    • If an athlete becomes more irritable, anxious, or struggles with perfectionism, they are demonstrating signs of burnout. They need time off or decreased self, coach, and or parental pressures related to their sports.

  • Coordination Of Care For An Athlete.

    • Extrinsic risk factors for injury include improper training volume, intensity, or progression, early sports specialization, poor footwear, and inefficient running form. These factors are better addressed when the athlete, parent, coach, and healthcare provider have open communication with the athletes BEST INTEREST at the forefront.

  • Modify Training Program To Allow Rest Periods

    • Injury can be reduced by developing a training plan that limits weekly and yearly participation time to reduce repetitive movements and increase scheduled rest periods within each week, season, and annual training cycle.

    • Suggested rest is at least 1 day per week, 1-2 weeks every 3 months, and participation limited to 9-10 months per year.

  • Avoid Early Sports Specialization (Bolded Based on IMPORTANCE)

    • Highly specialized youth athletes (those participating in one sport more than 8 months of the year) report more injuries than their peers, independent of age, sex, or training volume.

    • Early Sport Specialization is associated with unidimensional identity with the sport leading to the athlete feeling as like they lack control with their participation in that sport. This leads to burnout.

All Credit To The Authors & AJSM. No Copyright Violation Intended.  Click Here To Access Full Article.

All Credit To The Authors & AJSM. No Copyright Violation Intended. Click Here To Access Full Article.


When To Seek Treatment

Now that we are aware of injury risks, YOU have to take preventive measures. For some, this means a little time off before training ramps up again. For others, it’s time to hit the gym, toss a ball around, shoot some hoops, and spend some time at the pool.

Early Care Is Crucial To Retruning To Running In a Resonable Time-Frame.  Schedule Today.   Shin Splint Pain Relief ->  CLICK HERE   IT Band Pain Relief ->  CLICK HERE   Runner’s Knee Pain Relief ->  CLICK HERE

Early Care Is Crucial To Retruning To Running In a Resonable Time-Frame. Schedule Today.

Shin Splint Pain Relief -> CLICK HERE

IT Band Pain Relief -> CLICK HERE

Runner’s Knee Pain Relief -> CLICK HERE

When it comes to injuries, we know two things.

  • (1) Rest is rarely beneficial for sports injury recovery. Rehab needs to be active!

  • (2) The sooner you seek care with an injury, the sooner you will be back out and running.

If you or your child has been training for the upcoming cross country season but are continually being sidelined by injury and illness, it’s time to find help and get back on track. If you are a runner in the Salt Lake City area, Revive Sport & Spine is your go-to clinic to get you back up and running quickly, giving you the tools to help you run faster, farther, and more efficient than before.

Krabak et al. Youth Distance Running: Strategies for Training and Injury Reduction. American College of Sports Medicine. 2019. Current Sports Medicine Reports. www.acsm-csmr.org.


Dr. Reheisse is a Board Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician practicing in Cottonwood Heights Utah. Revive Sport & Spine provides evidence-supported chiropractic care and conservative sports injury management for the great people and adventurers of the Salt Lake City Valley.


Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome Part 2 - Self-Care For Shin Splints

In PART 1 of our Shin Splints series, we took a look at the anatomy associated with medial tibial stress syndrome as well as the factors that make runners especially susceptible to them, namely the repetitive nature of running compounded by most cases typically doing too much too soon.

Here in PART 2, we are going to look at self-care options as well as some considerations for preventing repeate episodes of shin splints so that you can keep running and training for your goal races.


SELF CARE OPTIONS FOR MTSS-SHIN SPLINTS

Self Myofacial Release - 4 Ways To Care For Your Shin Splint Pain

 
 

Pre-Running Warm-Up For Shin Splints

 
 


Training Modifications, Gear Suggestions, & Other Prevention Considerations

Form, Cadence, & Ground Contact Time:

This is a tricky subject, honestly I’m not sure why I even mentioned it. One can go miles down the form training rabbit hole and come out the other side worse they they were before. However, I do want to mention three things that must be considered and worked into your training plan to help prevent shin splints and make you a more efficient and faster runner.

  1. The ground fights back! The more time we spend in contact with the ground, the harder this battle will be. I’m not here to talk about heel-striking, forefoot running, etc., but I will mention cadence. The higher your cadence, the less time your foot spends on the ground. Meaning, the less ground reactive forces you absorb and the less stress on your body.

  2. Again, I’m not here to correct form. But I do believe we can all be more efficient. Strength training helps us become more efficient for those later stages of the race. Please add strength training to your program, it is extremely useful.

  3. Alter your surfaces. Don’t always pound the pavement. The track and trails are your friend…and your feet will thank you for it.

Shoes:

Shoes are something I get asked about frequently. My honest answer is this, ‘We have more shoe technology and selection than ever…we also have more injuries than ever.’ Take that for what it is worth but I do believe shoes should be rotated and changed frequently. I suggest a 2-3 pair rotation, avoid running in the same pair two days in a row, and switching out for a new pair every 200-300 miles depending on the shoe.

Warm-Up & Cool-Down:

This is SO BIG. In every injury we encounter and talk about, how you warm-up (if at all) and cool-down has a direct impact on your injury risk, and recovery speed from injury. Warming up prepares your body for the task ahead, giving it the best chance to avoid injury. Colling down helps work out those tight spots after training while encouraging faster recovery.


Dr. Reheisse is a Board Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician practicing in Cottonwood Heights Utah. Revive Sport & Spine provides evidence-supported chiropractic care and conservative sports injury management.

Resolve Low Back Issues Part 4: Most Common Myths Of Low Back Pain

Few musculoskeletal conditions have a cult-like following of myths as Low Back Pain, many of which have been said by various healthcare providers across all specialties. To help clear the air, let's take a look at the 5 most common misunderstandings and myths that we encounter in our chiropractic clinic that could actually make your low back pain worse.

Before we get started…

These myths and misunderstandings are not aimed at making low back pain seem 'made-up,’ it is a very real and challenging condition. These myths are just folklore passed down from old, unsubstantiated in the research, ways of thinking. Our truth is that, if you believe one thing and that makes you feel that your low back is wrecked for life, they a long road of pain is what you are in store for. We call this fear-avoidance and catastrophizing, the medicalization of a condition. We will touch more on this when we cover imaging next week. But a big part of recovering from low back pain is believing that you can get better. It may sound silly, but no more ridiculous than believing these myths below!

NUMBER 1: Your back pain is from a misalignment, bone out of place, or a ‘subluxation.’

We don’t practice this way any longer, stop using explanations from this era.

We don’t practice this way any longer, stop using explanations from this era.

These are common descriptions patients and doctors alike will give when describing their back pain.  The most common being...you threw your back out, and it is now misaligned...commonly spoken by chiropractors of a generation ago or current doctors, chiropractors, and physical therapists that have not caught up with current research.  The truth to this is that your spine is a dynamic structure designed to move, what we ACTUALLY find is that the pain you are feeling is often associated with immobility, or areas of the spine that should be moving, but due to tight muscles and previous injury, may not be moving well or correctly anymore.  Spinal manipulation or an ‘adjustment’ is designed to restore normal motion to these restricted areas.

A bone did not shift out of place and therefore needs to be put back in! That’s not how it works.


NUMBER 2: Arthritis is the root of all evil!

OsteoarthritisReliefUtahSportsChiropractor.jpg

Arthritis is like wrinkles on your face…lets just keep it nice and say they are signs of wisdom. Truthfully, if you live and play hard and long enough, we will all experience some degree of degeneration.  However, and please understand this, it is a natural process and does not necessarily equate to pain! When conditions present that are more challenging, using arthritis as the ‘fall guy’ is the easy way out for a provider and an often acceptable answer for the patient.


NUMBER 3: “But…I have scoliosis and a short leg” that is the cause of my back pain.

LowBackPainReliefUtahSportsChiropractor.jpg

Just like arthritis, scoliosis and an actual short leg (1cm or shorter than the other) are comfortable areas to place blame when someone presents with back pain.  Both can absolutely lead to dysfunction, and if unaddressed, pain and discomfort. To a certain degree, uneven leg lengths and spinal rotation/curvature are normal variants, meaning most people have these at a mild level and are unlikely to be a pain generator. For most (not all) look to place the blame elsewhere.


NUMBER 4: Rest is what I need to recover, right?

LowBackPainReliefNotBedRestUtahSportsChiropractor.jpg

The days of ‘take 2 of these, rest, and call me in the morning’ are long gone. You likely have a relative who spent a good amount of their life with back pain that limited some or all of their activity. When you see a case like this or someone who is much too young to be experiencing recurrent back pain, it may seem like the right thing to do is rest up for a while. Fortunately, we now have stacks of research that supports the fact that bed rest is the worst (top 3 at least) idea when it comes to low back pain. The new adage is ‘Movement is Medicine.’ When someone presents to our office, we are not only just trying to relieve pain, but to relieve pain SO THEY CAN GET OUT AND MOVE. Even walking, WALKING, has been shown to reduce low back discomfort and be a great tool to prevent future occurrences.

NUMBER 5: Slap a brace on it & it will be fine.

Brace low back pain long term & you should join the circus with that thinking.

Brace low back pain long term & you should join the circus with that thinking.

This is excellent advice if you are looking to weaken your core muscles completely. Did you know that powerlifters use the belt to their advantage to complete amazing feats of strength not to brace their low back, but to give their stomach something to press in to, creating intraabdominal pressure (think bracing your stomach if someone was to punch you) that stabilizes the spine from the inside? Our bodies are amazing, it has its own ‘weight belt’ built in. Using straps, belts, or any other contraption like this for extended periods of time tells your body that you do not need it to do its job anymore. This core weakness and inability to naturally brace yourself through muscle control —> LEADS TO CHRONIC LOW BACK PAIN.

In summary, things change. Our treatment methods and your outlook on your condition must change. Every single one of these five myths is still spouted today in an office somewhere near you. Knowing the validity of that is often more important than the care you receive. While in certain circumstances, these can be valid reasons for low back pain. For most, especially those who come through our Cottonwood Heights, Utah Chiropractic and Rehabilitation clinic, we want a better answer. One that helps address and correct the dysfunction. One that promotes confidence and encourages the patient to try harder, that they can feel better and live a life they enjoy.

Next week, in part 5 of our Fix Your Low Back Series, we are going to discuss red flags, when you need imagining, and why you shouldn’t always rest your diagnosis and pain on those images.


Dr. Reheisse is a Board Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician practicing in Cottonwood Heights Utah. Revive Sport & Spine provides evidence-supported chiropractic care and conservative sports injury management.