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How to Prevent Foot and Ankle Injuries in Young Athletes

As a parent of children participating in sports, you do everything possible to ensure your child stays safe. And while there's been a lot of news coverage about children suffering concussions, there's little information about the impact of foot and ankle injuries. This is National Youth Sports Week, and in today’s post,  Dr. Hubert Lee at CarePlus Foot & Ankle Specialists in Bellevue, WA, shares some tips to protect your children during fall sports.

Stress Fractures: A stress fracture is a common injury among young athletes, often occurring in ankles, feet, and lower legs. Those who play sports that involve jumping, repetitive movement, and running are most susceptible to injury. Beginning sports activities too rapidly and not resting in between sets can elevate the occurrence of a stress fracture.

Shopping for Athletic Footwear: Purchasing proper athletic shoes for your young athlete is one of the most important things you can do to stop them from getting foot and ankle injuries. Always measure your child’s feet and buy new shoes at the start of the season, as old shoes don’t provide the support your child needs to avoid an injury.

Ankle Sprains: Research has shown that ankle injuries account for about 10 to 30% of all sports-related injuries in children. Without imaging, it's nearly impossible to tell if your child has a sprained ankle or broken bone. While some injuries can be treated with rest and time away from the field, more severe ankle sprains require immobilization and rehabilitation. In some cases, surgery will be required.

Ingrown Toenails: Another common issue in children who play sports is an ingrown toenail. Tight cleats or shoes and repetitive actions like kicking are the major causes. A podiatrist must treat ingrown toenails, but in the meantime, you can soak the foot in warm water with Epsom's salt and gently knead the side of the nail to help decrease inflammation.

Heel Pain: While children can experience the same kind of heel pain as adults (plantar fasciitis), a condition referred to as Sever's disease is more common, especially among young athletes. To address the problem, we recommend that young athletes and their parents slow down their activity level, use heel lifts to help absorb impact, use over-the-counter custom orthotics or inserts, go for physical therapy, and reduce their inflammation and pain using ice and anti-inflammatory medications.

If your child suffers a sports-relation injury, contact Dr. Hubert Lee at CarePlus Foot & Ankle Specialists in Bellevue, WA, immediately. You can schedule an appointment online or by calling us at 425-455-0936

Dr. Hubert Lee

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