Funny Run in Children
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 cant quite put their finger on it. Sometimes they have attended a doctor or another therapist and been told there is nothing wrong with the child and YES we usually agree, there is nothing wrong with the child. However not all is right with the child either, and if the parent has concerns then invariably they are right.
We approach this by firstly chatting to the child to see do they know why they are here to see us, and in the absence of pain, they usually don’t know what the mother is talking about. When 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, but when you look over the head mam is nodding and mouthing the “no” word. I do love that 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.
So what we do is explain to the child that we work with athletes, 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, and 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.
We discuss the birth history and early development with the parents and frequently, in fact 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 a relevant finding when we assess the child.
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.
We provide the child with a series of exercises to improve the strength of certain muscle groups, to improve their core strength and the alignment of their legs. We use various techniques to help release the tight muscles, and so 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.