Foot and ankle injuries among young athletes tend to increase during the fall sports season. Football, soccer and basketball are the sports most likely to lead to sprains, broken bones and other problems. Follow these six tips to help protect your children from serious foot and ankle injuries this fall:
- Treat foot and ankle injuries right away. What seems like a sprain is not always a sprain. In addition to cartilage injuries, your child might have injured other bones in the foot without knowing it. Schedule an appointment with our office if you suspect your child has a foot or ankle injury. The sooner treatment starts, the sooner long-term instability or arthritis can be prevented and the sooner your child can get back into the game.
- Have a foot and ankle surgeon check old sprains before the season starts. A checkup at our office can reveal whether your child’s previously injured foot or ankle might be vulnerable to sprains and could possibly benefit from wearing a supportive brace during competition.
- Buy the right shoe for the sport. Different sports require different shoe gear. Players should not mix baseball cleats with football shoes.
- Children should start the season with new shoes. Old shoes can wear down and become uneven on the bottom, causing the ankle to tilt because the foot cannot lie flat.
- Check playing fields for dips, divots and holes. Most sports-related foot and ankle sprains are caused by jumping and running on uneven surfaces. This is why some surgeons recommend parents walk the field, especially when children compete in nonprofessional settings like public parks, for spots that could catch a player’s foot. Alert coaching officials to any irregularities.
- Encourage stretching and warmup exercises. Calf stretches and light jogging before competition help warm up ligaments and blood vessels, reducing the risk for foot and ankle injuries.
If you would like a foot and ankle surgeon to evaluate your child’s feet, ankles or athletic shoes before fall sports season begins, contact our office to schedule an appointment.