Youth sports have become very competitive. And many young athletes are transitioning from winter sports to spring activities without considering the elevated risk of sports-related injuries. Because April is National Youth Sports Safety Month, in today’s post, Dr. Hubert Lee at CarePlus Foot & Ankle Specialists in Bellevue, WA, shares his top 5 tips for preventing injuries to your child.
Taking part in sports during the winter vs. the summer season often involves switching to a different playing surface. Competing on different surfaces with fluctuating impact can put stress on an athlete's ankle or foot. Transitioning from sport to sport without permitting time for the bones and muscles to rest can result in overuse injuries, particularly in younger athletes.
If your child is participating in spring sports, consider these 5 tips to help protect them from serious ankle or foot injuries.
- Schedule a preseason wellness checkup.Getting a medical evaluation before the start of the season can help recognize any health concerns that can lead to injury.
- Start slowly. It’s important that your child's ankles and feet become familiar with the level of activity required for the sports they’re playing. Sufficient conditioning can keep a player free from injury and can improve the child’s performance throughout the season. See if your child's coach can increase their playing time gradually during practice to avoid pushing them too hard.
- Wear proper footwear.Each different sport requires different footwear. Wearing appropriate, broken-in, properly fitting athletic shoes that are specifically designed for a certain sport can eradicate toe and heel discomfort and advance your child's performance.
- Check your child’s technique and form.As your child's biggest cheerleader, you may be able to identify a difference in your child's technique and form. This is often a revealing sign that something might be wrong. Ask that your child's coach notify you if s/he is putting more weight on one side of the body if they develop a limp.
- Be open about any pain.Make sure your child athlete knows that they need to inform you and their coach of any discomfort or pain as soon as it happens. Overuse injuries such as Achilles tendinitis and shin splints can develop over time, so the sooner an injury can be identified, the sooner it can be addressed.
If your child is injured, remember the RICE formula. In many cases, an injured ankle or foot can be mended with rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE). Suggest that your child take a break from their activities if they complain of ankle or foot pain to allow time for recovery.
If the pain doesn’t subside, it may be the result of something more serious. Contact Dr. Hubert Lee and his team at CarePlus Foot & Ankle Specialists in Bellevue, WA, to schedule your next visit. You can schedule an appointment online or by calling us at 425-455-0936.