At Connecticut Foot Care Centers, we’re starting to see a predictable increase in appointments for younger patients experiencing fall sports injuries. Many pediatric problems in young athletes can be avoided. Below are some common sports injuries and how to prevent them.
Plantar Fascitis—a long band of tissue known as the plantar fascia runs along the bottom of the foot. When the plantar fascia becomes aggravated and inflamed, your child can experience pain in the arch of the foot and also heel pain. This tends to be a recurring problem. In many cases, plantar fasciitis is related to a defect in foot structure. If your child has overly high arches or flat feet, he or she may need special footwear or a custom orthotic device to play sports comfortably.
Shin Splints—pain and swelling in the front of the lower part of the legs are the characteristic symptoms of this source of discomfort. Shin splints are often the result of repetitive activities like running. Changing training regimens stretches for the calves and properly supportive sports shoes can all help alleviate and prevent this condition.
Sever’s Disease—this condition specifically affects children in the age range of 8 to about 15. Until the heel bone is fully developed, new growth is constantly occurring, leaving a vulnerable area in the growth plate at the back of the heel. Overly-strenuous practices and sports that feature repeated pounding of the heel on hard surfaces, such as basketball, track, and soccer, can increase the risk for Sever’s Disease. In addition to rest periods, other ways to reduce irritation include: maintaining an appropriate weight, stretching exercises and correct footwear or support if your child has flat feet or high arches.
Achilles tendonitis—inflammation of this long tendon in the back of the leg that connects the calf muscle to the heel is most often the result of doing too much too quickly. It’s important that children and teen's condition themselves before the sports season and that coaches follow a training regimen that gradually increases the intensity and duration of physical activity.
If your child experiences pain or discomfort in their feet and ankles during or after sports, make an appointment at one of our six Hartford and Middlesex County offices as soon as possible. Our podiatrists Jeffrey S. Kahn, D.P.M., Craig M. Kaufman, D.P.M., Ayman M. Latif, D.P.M.