Do you know what is the most commonly injured body part in adolescent runners?
How much running is too much?
Do multiple sports contribute to running injuries?
These are top questions often asked of me as a health care professional. To begin with the first question, that one is easy.....the KNEE. 70% of all running injuries in adolescents occur in the knee. Why the knee? The quick answer is WEAK HIPS. Adolescent runners have lots of hormones, especially females. That equals lots of movement. More movement requires more strength. As the pelvis widens in females, the demands on the knee get greater. Running places 2-4x your bodyweight on your knees; therefore the hip ABDUCTOR muscles must be strong to counteract this widening of the pelvis.
How much is too much running? The answer here will be very individual. I don't like to see adolescent runners running more than 30-40 miles/wk. Greater than 40 miles/wk has been shown to be a risk factor for running injuries in adolescent runners. That cumulative stress and weak hips is a recipe for knee pain.
This is a debatable one, but most recent research suggests that most adolescent runners that participate in other sports tend to be LESS likely to develop running injuries. Adolescent runners that participated in ball sports along with running were at least 30% less likely to develop a running injury. Keep in mind that running is running and the more running, the greater the risk. However, it does appear that the multidirectional sports help keep the hips muscles stronger and possibly preventing injury with longer distance running.
Hope this helps. Visit our website at www.racedayeducateperform.com for more services and our FREE running injuries book.
Jon Gallas, Race Day Education + Performance, LLC.