Playing sports involves quick repetitive movements, constricting footwear, and/or increased exposure to injury or trauma. During the fall season of sports, there is an increase in ankle injuries among young athletes. Playing football, soccer, and volleyball can lead to sprains, broken bones, and many other problems.
Injuries to the foot and ankle can occur from running, jumping, side-to-side cutting, sliding, tackling, and from striking the ball or another player with the foot. Athletes should be aware of the following risks:
- Inversion ankle sprains can damage the ankle ligaments and can also be associated with tendon injuries and fractures.
- Ankle fractures, toe fractures, and turf toe can sideline athletes and sometimes require surgery.
- Contusions and bone bruises may also result from high impact, such as in tackling.
- Overuse and excessive training can lead to heel pain (Plantar Fasciitis), Achilles Tendonitis, and stress fractures.
If your children are playing sports this fall, here are six tips that could protect them from serious ankle injuries:
- Get ankle injuries treated right away. Having an ankle injury examined by a Podiatrist is very important to determine the nature and extent of the injuries. The sooner treatment starts, the sooner your child can get back in the game. Early intervention can also reduce the risk of long-term problems like instability or arthritis.
- Have a medical check-up before the season starts to evaluate old injuries. This can reveal whether your child’s previously injured ankle might be vulnerable to sprains and could possibly benefit from wearing a supportive ankle brace during competition.
- Wear the right shoes for the right sport. Different sports require different shoes. Players should always wear the shoes designed specifically for that sport.
- Start the season with new shoes. Old shoes can be worn out and uneven on the bottom. This can cause the ankle to tilt because the foot cannot lie flat. New supportive shoes will offer more protection against injuries .
- Check playing fields for dips, divots, and holes. Most sports-related ankle sprains are caused by jumping and running on uneven surfaces. Walking the field before the games and alerting the officials to any problems can catch spots that might cause injuries.
- Encourage stretching and warm-up exercises. Calf stretches and light jogging before competition helps warm up ligaments and blood vessels, reducing the risk for ankle injuries.
Little things can make a big difference when it comes to preventing sports injuries. By following these tips, you can help your athlete stay in the game all season long! If you have any foot or ankle issues you are concerned about, contact Idaho Foot and Ankle Center. We want to help you get back on your feet for all the activities you love!
Some content provided by The ACFAS.