Kids “Fall” Back into School Sports

  As kids head back to school, they also get back into participating in team and individual sports. Children active in sports programs will improve their cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems, coordination, and state of mind. In addition, sports help children make friends, have fun, learn to play as a member of a team, learn to play fairly, and improve self-esteem.

  Every child matures physically at his or her own rate and has a different degree of athletic ability. No amount of training can improve a child’s natural athletic ability, but training helps improve coordination and therefore performance. Parents should encourage their children to participate in sports but never forget that competition should be fun.

  One of the most important ways to avoid injuries in all sports is stretching and warm-up exercises before beginning the activity. Warming up helps loosen muscles and prevents injuries in athletes of all ages. In addition, it’s extremely important to wear the correct shoes for the sport. Your podiatrist can help you choose the right shoes for your children.

According to podiatrists, overuse injuries occur from repetitive actions that put too much stress on the bones and muscles. All kids who play sports can develop an overuse injury. Foot injuries commonly seen in very active children include:

 

Blisters are caused by friction when shoes and socks rub repeatedly on the skin. Keep your child’s feet as dry as possible; wet shoes, boots and socks will cause blisters far more quickly than dry ones. Consult with your local podiatrist to ensure that shoes fit correctly and for treatment of blisters, especially if your child has diabetes.

 

Sever’s Disease is an injury to a child’s developing foot structure, specifically an inflammation in the heel’s growth plate due to muscle strain and repetitive stress. It is common in young athletes and children between 8-14 years of age, when the child’s bones are still in the growth stage and the growth plates have not become solidified. Rest, ice, and a padded heel insert–and in some cases, custom foot orthotics–are some treatments usually prescribed by a podiatrist for this condition.

 

Turf toe is a painful hyperextension of the big toe joint typically caused by playing on artificial turf or grass. Children involved in sports played on grass or turf (e.g., baseball, soccer, and football) should be particularly careful. The remedy is usually “RICE” (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) and orthotics (custom devices for shoes) prescribed by your podiatrist.

 

Shin splints are micro-tears or inflammation of the anterior leg muscles that cause pain and discomfort on the front of the lower parts of the legs. They are often caused by repeated running on hard surfaces or overtraining at the beginning of a sports season. Some ways of preventing this injury are proper stretching and warm-ups, wearing shoes designed for your child’s sport, and custom orthotics (custom devices for shoes).

 

Dr. Olga Garcia Luepschen and the Gentle Foot Care Center are located 2 Ryant Blvd (on US27) can be reached 314-9255(walk).  Check us out at www.gentlefootcarecenter.com

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