Spring has definitely sprung and that means that here at Great Neck Family Foot Care we are seeing more sports injuries in our children and teen patients. In recent years foot, ankle and other orthopedic injuries in children and young adults have been on the rise. This is due in part to children starting sports at an earlier age and having more intense training and competition. Young bodies are still developing and because of this are more susceptible to injury.
Our board certified podiatrists, Dr. Alec Hochstein and Dr. Diana Gagliano suggest that your child have a complete podiatric exam before the start of the sport season or before beginning a new sport. The foot doctor will check for abnormalities in the structure of the foot that could make the child prone to particular injuries. Here are 4 other ways to help protect your child’s feet:
- Choose the proper footwear. Having shoes that are designed for the sport your child is doing and that fit properly with good arch support is one of the most important steps you can take to prevent injury. Podiatrists recommend buying 2 pairs and having your child rotate to prevent excessive wear and reduce the risk of fungal infections. Check frequently to see that your child hasn’t outgrown the shoes. There should be at least a half inch between the longest toe and the end of the shoe.
- Don’t overdo one sport. Used to be that each sport had a season: football in the fall, baseball in the spring, etc. Now, thanks to high levels of competitiveness and indoor training facilities, a child can do one sport year round. This is dangerous to developing bones and ligaments. It puts repeated stress and pressure on the same part of the feet and ankles, which is more likely to become injured. Better to have your child participate in multiple sports and not specialize until in his or her teens when bones are more set and growth plates have fully formed.
- Practice proper training techniques. Initial training for a sport should focus on proper form, position and basic movements. Learning the correct technique will decrease unnecessary stress on feet and ankles and also ensure proper muscle support to prevent injury.
- Warm up before working out. One of the biggest causes of sports injuries is not taking the time to stretch and warm up muscles before beginning to train or play. Stretching legs, feet, ankles and even toes, combined with easy jogging or other light aerobic activity will lessen the risk of injury tremendously.
If your child does get injured, don’t encourage him or her to “play through it.” Make an appointment at our Great Neck office as soon as possible by calling: (516) 482-5999.