Funny Run in Children

Some times a child's run just looks "funny"

All children run differently

Parents often present in our clinic saying their child has a “funny run”. Basically the parent is watching the child, is aware that something does not look right, but can’t quite put their finger on it.

What Causes a Funny Run?

The funny run usually results from the child overusing some muscle groups and under using others. A lot of this has to do with the lifestyle our children have now. We might think that they are extremely active because they play a few sports, but what do they do when they are not actively engaged in organised activities? Travel in cars, sit in school, play console games, listen to music, use mobile phone etc.

Assessment

balance exercise children

improving balance

First of all, we will chat to the child to see if they know why they are here to see us. If there is no pain, they usually don’t know what the mother is talking about. Next, we ask them about their sport, or how fast they are. Depending on the age, they usually think that they are brilliant, fast and the best in their class. However, when you look over at mam, she is usually shaking her head and mouthing “no”. We encourage the positive attitude the child has, and we certainly don’t want to knock that confidence out of them by telling them there is something wrong with them.

We also discuss the birth history and early development with the parents, and we have found that in about 70% of the children we see, there was some significant issue at the time of birth. For example, they may have been premature, born by Cesarean section, a second twin, or have had some difficulty, and this is often relevant when we assess the child.

We will then look  at many different things, from strength, to flexibility, to balance. We will also look at the child’s walk and run, and from putting all of this together we will be able to put together a treatment plan.

Treatment

alignment exercise

improve alignment exercises

First of all, we explain to the child that we work with many athletes, including hurlers, soccer players etc. to help them become the best they can be. We explain our findings to them by explaining that some muscles overwork and some don’t work enough.  Then, we explain that we can help them get all their muscles working better, so they will be even faster and stronger than they already are.

After this, we provide the child with a series of exercises or games. The aim of these is to improve the strength of certain muscle groups, to improve their core strength and the alignment of their legs. We also use various techniques to help release the tight muscles. This helps to restore or provide the balance between the muscles that the child needs to run well. Sometimes we may provide orthotic insoles, but not always.

If the child does not engage in this process, they will continue to run with a “funny run” and accentuate that running pattern. If we can create balance between the muscles we can correct the run, and then the child will practice and develop the good running pattern instead.

Kids Class

We also runs kids classes,  which are full of fun games and activities that help to work on alignment, strength, flexibility, balance, core strength and so much more! The classes are suitable for kids aged 4-12.