For many here in Houston, life is slowly returning to normal, which means many of our kids will be hitting the green for soccer and baseball. Unfortunately, these sports are often synonymous with many different types of kids’ foot injuries. If you want to keep your little athlete healthy this season, follow these guidelines from the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons and your Houston podiatrist:
- Get Checked Before You Start
Having a medical evaluation in advance of an athletic season will help you and your child’s coach identify potential areas of weakness where they may be more prone to injury.
- Build Slowly
Speak with your child's coach about letting them increase play time gradually; also make sure that practices aren’t run at the same intensity levels as games. Like runners, athletes of any kind need to slowly build up strength and endurance in order to perform optimally and avoid injury.
- Choose Shoes Wisely
A baseball player and a soccer player need entirely different things from their athletic shoes: selecting the appropriate sneaker that fits comfortably on the very first wearing will go a long way towards improving your child’s athletic experience and preventing foot pain during play.
- Watch Closely
Observe your child during practice and games to see if they are displaying any sign of discomfort or injury—a change in gait or form can often be a sign that trouble is brewing. Make sure your child athlete knows that they should let you and their coach know as soon as they experience any kind of pain. Overuse injuries like Achilles tendinitis and shin splints develop slowly, over time, and the sooner they’re detected, the quicker your child’s recovery is likely to be.
- Always Rest An Injury
As soon as your child complains of foot or ankle pain, they should stop playing. If the pain is more than fleeting, it’s a sign that you need to see your podiatrist before allowing your child to return to the game.