SUNDAY, Jan. 30, 2011 (HealthDay News) -- The number of running-related injuries suffered by American youngsters aged 6 to 18 increased 34 percent between 1994 and 2007, according to a new study.
During that period, there were an estimated 225,344 such injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments, an average of more than 16,000 per year.
The majority of the running-related injuries were sprains and strains to the lower extremities. Falls accounted for one-third of the injuries and more than half of the injuries occurred at school, said the researchers at the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.
Youngsters aged 6 to 14 were more likely to be injured as a result of a fall and while running at school, while teens aged 15 to 18 were more likely to be injured 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," Lara McKenzie, principle investigator at the center, said in a hospital news release. "However, the findings from our study show that formal, evidence-based and age-specific guidelines are needed for pediatric runners so that parents, coaches and physical education teachers can teach children the proper way to run in order to reduce the risk of injury."
The study is published in the February issue of the journal Clinical Pediatrics.
The U.S. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases offers tips for preventing sports injuries in children.