Keep Your Kids’ Feet in Fall Fighting Shape
Whether your child is a Bullpup, a Trojan, or a Viking or proudly plays under another mascot, the fall season is in swing.
And let’s not forget about all the determined kids who are active outside of schools. Dancers, martial artists, gymnasts—we see you!
When your kid is engaged in an activity they love, it can pay great dividends for them physically, emotionally, and even socially. Naturally, you want to support them in their endeavors, and a big part of that is helping ensure they are properly equipped to prevent sports injuries.
An injury that puts your athlete on the sideline can take the wind out of their sails in an instant. And, unfortunately, injuries to the feet and ankles are all too common.
Part of our duties here at the Community Foot Clinic of McPherson is helping athletes recover from their injuries as quickly and safely as possible, and we’re happy to do so whenever the need arises! However, we’re also happy seeing people avoid problems in the first place.
As a parent, you have an important role in your young star’s career, however casual or professional it might end up being. You’re not just a chauffer, but also an equipment coach, assistant physician, and motivational speaker. You can help ensure your children are properly equipped to avoid foot and ankle injuries and catch the early signs of something that might need attention!
So while you’re cheering your kids on, keep these tips in mind:
Start with the Gear
The right shoes matter, and in much more important ways than the old Air Jordans commercials pushed.
The right shoe for your child’s sport will be specially designed for that activity. This means more than just making sure football shoes have cleats. Different sports—and even different positions within a sport—can place different demands on our bodies. Athletic shoes are made to provide support and stability to our feet and ankles to accommodate for forces and help prevent injuries.
Your child may likely have particular needs for their feet as well, based on their gait or foot structure. If they have high arches or flat feet, different types of shoes (or even custom orthotics) can make a world of difference to their comfort and injury risks.
We can absolutely help you determine whether your child’s feet need any special orthotic attention. At the very least, however, go to a specialized sporting goods store and consult with one of their trained associates. They should be knowledgeable enough to point you in the right direction.
When you do find the right kind of shoes for your child, help them develop the habit that they should onlybe used for their intended activity. This helps keep them in better shape when they’re needed most and contributes to a good sense of routine.
Encourage Warm-ups, Cool-downs, and Overall Technique
Hey, speaking of routine!
A high number of sports injuries are considered “overuse injuries.” This is when the body faces a force it is not ready to handle at the time. This can mean a sudden burst of intensity or repetitive force over time. If the body is not prepared, or given enough time to recover, injuries such as stress fractures and Achilles tendinitis can happen.
Routines that involve bookending activity with warm-ups and cool-downs help the body prepare for and adjust to upcoming bursts of energy. Not only should they be a part of every training session and game, but you should encourage to child to warm-up and cool down for more informal bouts of activity, too.
Additionally, proper technique exists so that athletes can play to the best of their abilities with lower risks of injury. It can not only make a difference in performance, but in preventing painful problems as well.
Encouraging children during warm-ups and technique can help a child who might be struggling with either. Speak with their coach or instructor to see if there are any elements you should help them focus on, and help provide that guidance and interest outside of training.
Recognize Signs of Trouble and Take Action
Kids can be excited to play, or feel a big obligation toward their team. When they start experiencing pain, a common instinct may be trying to hide it for fear of being benched or letting their teammates down.
The downside with this is that continuing to “play through pain” can cause even further damage. The worse an injury becomes, or the longer it lasts without providing proper treatment, the higher the chances it will cause lasting pain or weakness.
Signs of potential problems you should watch for include limping, favoring one foot, complaints of fatigue, or wanting to end a session sooner than usual (especially if they’ve always enjoyed doing so).
It does not always take a specific event for a child to develop a condition in need of addressing. Sever’s disease, which causes pain as part of the growing process of the heel, is a common condition seen in adolescents, but one that should still be examined by a podiatrist.
Don’t let pain or injury get in the way of your child’s athletic feats. Anytime there is pain that does not get better within a few days, it’s time to give us a call and get to the root of the problem. We have three offices in our region that are ready and happy to see new patients:
Please also feel free to fill out our online contact form any time of day and a member of our staff will reach out to you.