Athletic seasons ramp up in the fall for young athletes and with this comes an increase in foot and ankle injuries. Football, soccer, field hockey and cheerleading are sports more likely to lead to sprains, broken bones and other problems. Keep your child in the game this fall with these six tips:
1. Treat foot and ankle injuries immediately. What seems like a sprain isn’t always a sprain. Aside from ligament injuries, your child might have injured bones or cartilage without knowing it. Schedule an appointment with our office for proper treatment if you think your child has a foot or ankle injury. Failure to treat injuries appropriately and timely can lead to long-term instability or arthritis later in life.
2. Have old sprains checked before the season starts. A foot and ankle surgeon can tell whether a previous injury might be vulnerable to sprains and when an old injury may benefit from wearing a brace or other support during the season.
3. Get the right shoes for your child’s chosen sport. Each sport requires a different sport specific type of shoe. Football and baseball cleats are not interchangeable.
4. Start each season with new, appropriately-fitted shoes. Old shoes wear down over time and become uneven on the bottom. When a shoe can’t lie flat, the ankle will tilt, increasing the risk of sprains and strains.
5. Walk the field before any practices or games. Check for dips, divots or holes as most sports-related ankle sprains are caused by running and jumping on uneven surfaces. Foot and ankle surgeons recommend checking the field for spots that could trip up a player’s foot, especially for nonprofessional settings like parks. If you notice any irregularities, alert coaching officials.
6. Always encourage athletes to stretch and warm up before practice or games. Calf stretches and light jogging help warm up ligaments, muscles, tendons and blood vessels reducing the risk for foot and ankle injuries.
As this sports season starts, contact our office to have your child’s feet, ankles and athletic shoes evaluated.