As the weather warms up, more children and teens are hitting the sports fields. While sports have many benefits for young people, they also present significant risk to growing bodies. Bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons are all still developing in children and young adults. At Edmond/Norman Foot & Ankle we find that overuse and improper training techniques are the major causes of youth sports injuries. Be sure that the coaches for your child’s team are properly trained and follow safe practices.
It’s important to remember that pain is never normal. If your child complains of pain or other symptoms, it’s best to make an appointment at either our Edmond or Norman office and let our board certified foot and ankle surgeon, Dr. A. Bil Buksh examine the foot. Some injuries children are more prone to include:
Sever’s disease—before the growth plate at the back of the heel finishes forming, it is susceptible to inflammation if excessive pressure is put on the heel through activities that involve running and jumping. Symptoms usually include pain and swelling on the bottom of the heel.
Strains and sprains—muscles and ligaments that get stretched beyond the normal range of motion get strained and sprained respectively. This can happen if the duration or speed of a training regimen suddenly increases, running is taking place on uneven surfaces or if the athlete doesn’t warm up properly. Pain, swelling and tenderness are all signs of a sprain or strain. Being able to walk on the foot does not mean it is not damaged.
Stress fractures—these are tiny cracks in the surface of a bone. The bones in the forefoot between the toes and the middle of the foot are particularly prone to stress fractures. Children who have a stress fracture usually complain of pain that is worse when they are active.
Shin Splints—inflammation or micro-tears in the muscles on the sides of your shins, causing pain in the shins can result from too much running and not enough rest between workouts.
For most children’s sports injuries, rest from the activity until the foot or ankle is fully healed is necessary. If your child does suffer any injury, be sure to follow all the podiatrist’s instructions and don’t allow your child to start back too soon or greater and more long-term injury is likely to result. For more information on sports injuries and your child, contact our office.