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10 exercises you can do with your kids to prevent running injury

A new program is being started in St. Louis to help teach runners how to stay on track.

ST. LOUIS – Anyone who's tried to run, whether recreationally or competitively, understands how easily the injury bug can strike.

According to the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 70-percent of runners will be injured at some point in their lives. Doctors at St. Louis Children's Hospital are trying to lower that number. And they believe doing so will be easier than you think.

“We saw this being a real gap and a need," said Paul Jenkins, St. Louis Children’s Hospital physical therapist at the Young Athlete Center in Chesterfield.

Jenkins is part of the team starting the Runner's 10 program.

“It’s something families can do together," he said.

According to the physical therapists at the Young Athlete Center, teens are just as likely to develop running injuries as adults.

Runner's 10 is meant to help families learn how to build strength and flexibility to handle the pounding of the pavement.

“Sometimes it’s related to form and technique," said Jenkins. "But a lot of times it’s having those under-lying muscular imbalances. If you can address those, even without changes to your form, you can improve.”

Runner's 10 consists of 10 moves any runner can do to prevent the most common running injuries, such as shin splints, plantar fasciitis and 'runner's knee.'

“It can be a good warmup two to three times a week," said athletic trainer Tom McGowan. “They’re all equally important.”

So, what’s the magical recipe?

  • The standard plank
  • Push ups
  • Clam shells
  • Single leg bridges
  • Calf raises
  • Quad stretches
  • Lower leg stretches, for the calves and shins

And there’s also Arch lifts and hamstring stretches, all aimed for runners aged 10 to any adult who is trying to become a healthy runner.

“And if we can get them stronger and more flexible, then hopefully some of those pain problems that come up we can avoid, and get them to run longer, and really fall in love with the sport," said Jenkins.

If you’re experiencing chronic injuries or just want to learn how you and your teen can become a healthier runner, the first Runner's 10 class is set for August 22. You can learn more and sign up here.