Youth sports offer countless benefits to children, from fostering physical fitness to teaching valuable life skills like teamwork and discipline. However, there’s a downside to this active lifestyle – the risk of foot and ankle injuries. These injuries can be quite common in young athletes due to their still-developing bodies and exuberance on the field. We want to share with you the types, causes, and treatment of foot and ankle injuries in youth sports, and how you can be proactive in preventing them in your young athletes!

Common Foot and Ankle Injuries

  1. Sprains and Strains: These are among the most common injuries in youth sports. A sprain involves stretching or tearing the ligaments, while a strain affects the muscles or tendons. They can range from mild to severe and often occur when a player lands awkwardly or changes direction suddenly.
  2. Fractures: Children’s bones are still growing, making them susceptible to fractures. Ankle and foot fractures can result from direct impact, overuse, or repetitive stress. Stress fractures, in particular, are common in sports that involve running or jumping.
  3. Sever’s Disease: This condition typically affects young athletes during periods of rapid growth. It involves inflammation of the growth plate in the heel bone and can be quite painful.
  4. Achilles Tendonitis: Overuse of the Achilles tendon, which connects the calf muscles to the heel bone, can lead to tendonitis. This is often seen in sports that involve running or jumping.
  5. Plantar Fasciitis: Inflammation of the plantar fascia, a band of tissue connecting the heel to the toes, can cause heel pain. This condition is often seen in sports that involve a lot of running.

Common Causes of Sports Injuries

Several factors contribute to foot and ankle injuries in youth sports:

  1. Overuse: Young athletes may train excessively, leading to overuse injuries. It’s crucial to balance training and provide adequate rest.
  2. Improper Footwear: Ill-fitting or worn-out shoes can increase the risk of injuries. Proper footwear is essential for injury prevention.
  3. Inadequate Warm-Up: Skipping warm-up exercises can make muscles and tendons more susceptible to injury.
  4. Inadequate Coaching: Coaches should teach proper technique and promote safe play to minimize injury risks.

Sports Injuries Prevention

Preventing foot and ankle injuries in youth sports involves a proactive approach:

  1. Proper Conditioning: Encourage your child to maintain overall fitness and participate in strength and flexibility training to reduce the risk of injury.
  2. Rest: Ensure your child gets adequate rest between practices and games to allow the body to recover.
  3. Footwear: Invest in high-quality, well-fitted sports shoes appropriate for the specific sport.
  4. Warm-Up and Cool-Down: Teach your child the importance of warming up before practice and cooling down afterward.
  5. Proper Technique: Enroll your child in a program with knowledgeable coaches who emphasize proper technique and safety.

Treatment of Sports Injuries

In the unfortunate event of a foot or ankle injury, prompt and appropriate treatment is crucial:

  1. RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation are the first steps in treating most minor injuries.
  2. Medical Evaluation: Consult Idaho Foot & Ankle Center for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.
  3. Physical Therapy: Rehabilitation exercises can help with recovery and prevent future injuries.
  4. Rest: Give your child ample time to heal before returning to sports activities.

Foot and ankle injuries in youth sports are a part of the game, but with the right precautions and a focus on safety, you can minimize their occurrence. Parents, coaches, and young athletes must work together to ensure that the joy of sports doesn’t come at the cost of long-term foot and ankle health. Encourage your child to stay active, but always prioritize their safety and well-being!


If  your children have any foot or ankle issues or injuries they are experiencing, contact Dr. Kylin Kovac or Dr. Jed Erickson at Idaho Foot and Ankle Center. They specialize in foot care for the whole family and can provide you with the right diagnosis and treatment plan to get you back in the game as soon as possible!