Preventing cross country injuries in kids
Rosemary Marchese – Physiotherapist
It’s cross country season at school and injury prevention is high on our agenda at Max Sports. Cross country running requires children to be able to navigate some tricky terrains at times over long distances. This requires the right range of motion, muscular strength, flexibility, core stabilisation and anaerobic endurance. Unfortunately, if one or more of these features are not going well, we risk injury.
Some of the more common cross country injuries we see are:
* Patellofemoral pain (knee cap pain), which can occur due to alignment, strength and flexibility issues
* Iliotibial band (ITB) friction syndrome, where the band of tissue on the outside of the leg causes pain just below the outside part of the knee
* Achilles tendon problems
* Lower extremity stress fractures or reactions
* Medial tibial stress syndrome, where the shin bone is under stress
* Plantar fasciitis, where the arch of the foot experiences pain.
How do you help your child prevent injury?
If your child is experiencing pain, then it’s best to get them individually assessed. However, when preventing injury, you need to make sure your child has:
* Great core strength and balance
* Proper jumping and landing techniques (you would be surprised how many kids cannot do this)
* Good levels of strength in the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings and calves
* Adequate flexibility in the hamstrings, calves and ITB
It’s also important to wear good shoes with good arch support and heel cushioning.
Preparing for cross country training
Make sure your child builds up the distance slowly. Incorporate strength and flexibility training in this process. If you are unsure of the process or are worried about injury, seek the help of a professional in this area. Individualised programs can go a long way to preventing injury.
Our ‘Stretch and Strength’ program celebrated a lot of top placements at various schools today! It was so exciting to see! If you are interested in a Stretch and Strength program for your child our clinic offers classes for kids, or individual programs can be organised. Call 8914 0508 if you have any further questions.