Researchers at the Center for Injury Research and Policy of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, found the annual number of track-related injuries increased 36 percent during the 18-year study period, jumping from 7,702 in 1991 to 10,496 in 2008.
"Participation in track is a great way to encourage children and adolescents to remain physically active," senior author Lara McKenzie said in a statement. "However, the increase in injuries corresponding with the increased participation in this activity suggests we need to do a better job of preventing track-related injuries among our young athletes."
The study, published in The Physician and Sportsmedicine, found 52 percent of the injuries were sprains and/or strains, while 17 percent were fractures or dislocations.
The study also found of the seven different track-related activities -- sprinting, cross-country, running, hurdles, relays, stretching and/or drills, and "other" activities. The most common activities being performed at the time of injury were running at 59 percent and hurdles at 23 percent.
"We found that the most commonly injured body parts varied across activity and across age group," McKenzie said. "For instance, elementary students were more likely to sustain upper extremity injuries while high school students were more likely to sustain lower leg injuries."