4 Tips to Protect Young Athletes from Foot Injuries

Baseball, tennis, volleyball…the list is endless. Spring sports are here, and children are heading into game season. They’re busy stocking up on things such as equipment, uniforms, and team spirit. But parents and children often overlook one important thing – preventing sports-related foot and ankle injuries. April is National Youth Sports Safety Month, so in today’s post, Dr. Eric Ricefield, Dr. Mark Yagodich, Dr. Aliza V. Eisen, and Cassandra Stache, DPM of greater Philadelphia’s Your Next Step Foot and Ankle Care Center share tips for keeping your children safe during spring sports.

All varieties of athletes are at risk of foot or ankle injuries; however, most of these injuries are preventable. Here are tips to protect your children during spring sports season!

  1. Have previous injuries checked out. It’s important to have a medical checkup prior to the season starting to know if a previous injury is susceptible to further stress or injury. A pre-season physical can also help determine if your athlete is able to play this season and if more protection or support is needed for any prior injuries.
  2. Wear the right footwear. When choosing the right footwear, keep in mind that each sport is played differently and therefore requires your body to move in different ways. So, it’s important to choose the type of shoe required by that sport. Always begin a new season with new footwear. Old shoes can be worn down unevenly, which can cause the arch to fall or the ankle to tilt.

One of the biggest issues we see is children wearing flip-flops during outdoor activities. Because of their lack of support, these kinds of shoes can easily cause strains and sprains, as well as injure your child’s lower back, hips, and knees. The type of shoes your child wears is extremely important. They should provide enough support for proper balance.

  1. Be sure your child warms up and cools down. Your young athlete should be stretching both before and after they practice. It’s extremely important to warm up before any physical activity to prepare your ligaments, tendons, blood vessels, and muscles and cool down following the activity. The cooling down process helps avoid injuries by stopping blood from collecting in the lower extremities of the body and prevents muscle soreness.
  2. Get enough rest! Regardless of age, all athletes need to get enough rest. Muscle fatigue and a lack of sleep aren’t a good mixture. Muscles that are being overworked are more disposed to injury.

It’s important to get any injury examined and treated as quickly as possible because some injuries can result in long-term conditions, like arthritis. By treating problems sooner, you are decreasing the likelihood of experiencing these long-term conditions.

If your child is injured, contact the team at Greater Philadelphia’s Your Next Step Foot and Ankle Care Center. You can click here to locate contact information for the office nearest you to book your appointment.

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