Children will participate in fall sports this year, and regardless of their sport or whether they play just for fun or competitively, they will have one important thing in common: They need their feet to be pain-free if they’re going to avoid injuries and play their best. Because this is National Youth Sports Week, 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 to protect your children’s feet and ankles during the fall season.
Sports play an important role in the lives of millions of youth athletes. So, parents need to be mindful that sports that require a substantial amount of turning, contact, and running can result in injury. Safeguarding your children’s feet from injury and taking them to a podiatrist if problems occur can help keep children in the game and make fall sports more enjoyable.
Here are Six Tips to Protect Your Children’s Feet and Ankles this Fall Sport Season
Every autumn, foot and ankle doctors see a rise in ankle injuries among juvenile athletes. Soccer, basketball, and football often lead to broken bones, sprains, and other problems. If your children participate in sports this fall, below are six tips to safeguard them against serious injuries.
- Have a doctor examine previous sprains before the season starts: A checkup can determine if your child’s previously injured ankle might be susceptible to sprains. If it is, a supportive ankle brace during activity may be recommended.
- Have ankle injuries treated immediately: What appears to be a sprain is not always a sprain. In addition to injuries to the cartilage, your daughter or son may have sustained an injury to other bones in the foot without knowing. Have a qualified podiatrist examine the injury as soon as possible because the quicker rehabilitation begins, the sooner long-term problems like arthritis or instability can be avoided.
- Begin the season with new shoes: Like a car tire, older shoes wear down and become uneven on the bottom, causing the ankle to slant because the foot can’t lie flat.
- Make sure your child is wearing the proper shoes for their sport: Each sport requires different footwear, so make sure your child wears the correct type. For instance, players should not mix football shoes with baseball cleats.
- Support stretching and warmups: Light jogging and calf stretching before competition will warm up the blood vessels and ligaments, reducing the risk of ankle injuries.
- Inspect the playing fields for holes, dips, and divots: Many ankle injuries are caused by running and jumping on bumpy surfaces. This is why doctors recommend parents walk around the field, mainly when children compete in nonprofessional settings such as public parks.
If your child experiences a sports injury this fall, contact Greater Philadelphia’s Your Next Step Foot and Ankle Care Center. You can click here to locate contact information for the nearest office to book your appointment.