Elmhurst is a big running community. This is probably why we have had a few parents wondering what the rules are on distances and ages to start competitive running. A few guidelines will help your child to continue enjoying the sport - and without an injury!
1. Most resources recommend that competitive running not begin before the age of 10.
2. Maximum race distance to train for as a 10 year old: 3K
3. Weekly training volume not to exceed 3-4 times race distance (8 miles per week)
4. 10 year olds may complete a 5K, but it is best to allow occasional walking and running to be at comfortable pace.
5. Rather than have your child run as primary form of activity, mix in multiple types of activity (think basketball, soccer, volleyball).
The guidelines above are here in order to prevent overuse injury. These injuries can occur to tendons, ligaments, bones, but also - growth plates in the lower extremities. Growth plate injuries have variable levels of severity, but the more severe injuries can alter growth in the affected area.
If your child already has foot or ankle pain, don't ignore it - hoping it will go away. Children's pain should not be credited as 'just growing pains' as this is not normal. Call our office today or keep an eye out for upcoming pediatric foot screening clinics at our office!