Friction Burns from Sporting Equipment in the Paediatric Population

Dr Marcus Cheng1, Dr Ebrar Al-Yasery1, Dr  Sarah Lonie1, Mr Wai-Ting Choi1

1Department of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, Western Health, Sunshine, Australia


Burns are a common form of injury in the paediatric population. There is an increased incidence of friction burns caused by sporting equipment seen with the rise in affordability and popularity of home exercise equipment. There is also an increasing trend towards the mechanisation of exercise.

Equipment such as treadmills causes not only friction burns on skin, but also damage to deeper structures.

At Western Health, we have noted an increased incidence of exercise equipment related friction burns, in particular the curious toddler age group. Such injuries, often being a full thickness burn to the palm of the hand, while small in terms of total body surface area, can have debilitating functional outcomes from the resultant scarring or damage to underlying tendon or nerve.

This case series of children injured with burns from sporting equipment discusses the assessment and management and raises awareness of such injuries and strategies to prevent them from occurring.


  • Goltsman D et al. Pediatric Treadmill Burns: Assessing the effectiveness of prevention strategies. Burns. 2016 Nov;42(7):1581-1587. doi: 10.1016/j.burns.2016.02.007.
  • Marchalik R et al. Upper extremity friction burns in the pediatric patient: a 10-year review. Plast Reconstr Surg Glob Open.2018 Dec 4;6(12):e2048. doi: 10.1097/GOX.0000000000002048.
  • Jeremikenko L et al. Paediatric treadmill friction injuries. J Paediatr Child Health. 2009 May;45(5):310-2. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1754.2008.01329.x.
  • Friedrich J, Muzaffar A, Hanel D. Pediatric hand friction burns from treadmill contact. Hand. 2007 Dec; 2(4): 188–193. doi: 10.1007/s11552-007-9046-2.


Marcus Cheng is currently unaccredited plastic surgery registrar at Western Health in Melbourne.


ANZBA is a not for profit organisation and the peak body for health professionals responsible for the care of the burn injured in Australia and New Zealand. ANZBA encourages higher standards of care through education, performance monitoring and research.

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