Overuse injuries are distinct from such commonplace trauma injuries as sprains, strains, broken bones and concussions. They are specific to the parts of the body most used during the athletic endeavour. These body areas can include the knees of athletes in sports that require running and jumping, such as basketball and soccer.
The overuse injury is caused by repetitive micro-trauma caused by chronic use of a specific body part, coupled with an inadequate time for rest and healing. But overuse injuries can be prevented if athletes and parents take precautions and familiarize themselves with the symptoms.
Don’t push through the pain. Young athletes should never be encouraged to “tough it out” and ignore pain. While pain may just be the sign of a sore, tired muscle, it can also be the first clue to an overuse injury. Players should stop and rest and gradually return to the activity, if the pain subsides. If it persists, see The Podiatrist.
Remember to rest. It’s under-rated, but rest is key to injury prevention and on-field success. The multi-tasking athlete who runs from school to practice to individualized training sessions, while still trying to keep up in school, needs to find time for eight hours of sleep and the occasional day off from the activity to stay injury-free.
Don’t forget to stay hydrated. Water is best for hydration during athletic activities under an hour. Consider electrolyte-enhanced sports drinks for longer bouts of activity – more than an hour – and for repeated activity in the same day.
Encourage your children to engage in multiple sports and athletic activities. Not only do the kids learn different skills, but they also develop and work complementary muscle groups while resting others. It is suggested to forgo specialization in sports until adolescence or puberty.
While prevention techniques like stopping play and getting rest are keys to avoiding overuse injuries, ice is helpful when applied to the affected area 15 to 20 minutes at a time. Injuries occur in many patients early in the new season, when kids may try and do too much too soon. Be sure to increase practice and playing time gradually.
If you are suffering from an overuse injury, please give us a call at The Podiatrist
We are happy to answer any questions you may have.
If you have active kids, making sure they’re wearing the right shoes for what they’re doing, and for their own unique physique, can be as important and wearing their retainers or washing their faces.
- One in three children who plays a team sport is injured seriously enough to miss practice or games.
- Children’s bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments are still growing, making them more susceptible to injury.
When it comes to issues of our kids’ we need to know to keep them safe, and help them understand how to do things right.
A few things we can do, and remind them to do, include:
- Kids should have at least one or two days off from any particular sport each week to avoid overuse injuries.
- If you experience a foot or ankle injury while playing sports, early attention is key to preventing further damage. Always ice the injury, never use heat.
- Choose footwear specific to your activity. Sneakers made for tennis players will provide different support and traction than cleats made for football players.
- If you participate in a certain sport at least two to three times a week, you should wear a sport-specific shoe.
- Go to a store that specializes in athletic shoes, or The Podiatrist for suggestions.
- Be sure to have their feet measured every time you purchase new shoes, as feet size and shape can change (especially in kids) as we age.
For all your foot problems, visit The Podiatrist
When people have babies, they’re always warned about the “soft spot” on the head – that the skull bones haven’t fused enough to adequately cover the brain.
It’s such a well-known fact, most people don’t give it a second thought. But in reality, babies are born with nearly 100 bones that need to close and grow to create bones and joints.
Some of those bones are in the feet, and they make up your foot arch. Most people don’t realize it, but arches don’t develop until around the age of 6, after walking, standing and other activities have strengthened the bones and cartilage.
Before that, babies and toddlers have a stage of development called flexible flat feet. This is characterized by the presence of arches when children are sitting or standing on their toes, but the arch disappears when they put weight on their feet.
Flexible flat feet are normal, and for 80-90 percent of children, they’re temporary. However, for a smaller portion of the population, arches never develop, which is a condition called pediatric flat feet.
Quality of life
Some children with flat feet are able to accommodate their condition quite well. These cases – called asymptomatic flat feet – will likely never require treatment.
However, if children develop pain, tenderness or cramping in the feet, legs and knees, or if they find difficulty walking, wearing shoes or participating in activities, they likely have symptomatic flat feet. In these cases, medical advice and treatment should be sought.
The Podiatrist is well-versed in the bones and structure of children’s feet, and knows best how arches should develop and function.
When you first have an appointment, The Podiatrist will conduct a physical examination of the foot and will observe children standing, sitting and walking.
After diagnosis, treatment options can vary. Children with asymptomatic flat feet – when there’s no pain or difficulty walking – typically only need periodic checkups. Children with symptomatic flat feet, however, typically need intervention and additional care.
For most cases, non-surgical approaches are best, often starting with activity modification. This could mean cutting down on time playing sports or avoiding prolonged periods of standing.
To help children with their daily activities, a wide range of orthotic accessories – such as shoe inserts – are available.
The Podiatrist can also recommend styles and brands of shoes that can help ease flat feet. In some cases, custom orthotic devices can be created that support the structure of the foot and improve function.
Ongoing support measures can include physiotherapy, where children can work with a therapist on stretching exercises that provide relief for flat feet. Certain medications, ranging from ibuprofen to prescriptions, can also reduce pain and inflammation.
In general, pediatric flat feet are a relatively normal, treatable condition. If you have additional questions, or think your child may have flat feet, talk to The Podiatrist today.
For all your foot problems, visit The Podiatrist.
I spend a lot of time talking to adults about feet and shoes, and the conversation naturally drifts onto their children’s shoes.
For years, we have been given advice from shoe manufacturers and retailers, coaches, friends, parents and grannies about the ‘right’ shoe for children.
Invariably, especially if you are of a certain age, you would have been told that solid, supportive shoes are best. However, that advice needs to be reviewed.
The human foot contains three arches, 26 bones, 33 joints, over 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments and thousands of nerve endings, and can tolerate impacts more than three times greater than your body weight. When you walk and run, it is your foot that absorbs the impact, stops you from collapsing, and pushes you forwards. As Leonardo da Vinci said ‘the human foot is a masterpiece of engineering and a work of art’.
What are the differences between a young child’s foot and leg against your own? The next time you see a toddler, have a look at the shape of her feet. You’ll notice that they are almost triangular: narrow at the heel, and widest at the toes. Compare that to your own. I bet they are more diamond shaped, with the widest part across the base of your toes, narrowing in to the tips. Now think about the shape of your shoes, most shoes are widest at the base of the toes, narrowing to a point at the front.
Also, watch the way small children can squat, with their bum almost resting on their heels, and stay there for as long as they like. Try to do that yourself without lifting your heels, and chances are you’ll only make it halfway down, or fall backwards. What is the significance of this?
Well, most shoes these days have a heel, even kids shoes. In fact the heel in children’s shoes is, relatively speaking, much bigger than a heel in adults’ shoes. Think about it. A 2cm heel in a shoe that is only 15cm long creates a much bigger angle than in one that is 25cm. Just as if you were to wear high heels all day your calf muscles would get tight, so too will a child’s. Over-tight calf muscles stop you from being able to squat fully by reducing your ankle movement.
When you have a raised heel in your shoe, it pushes your toes hard into the toe-box. If that toe-box is narrow, the toes will get squashed together. What happens to women who wear high heels all the time? Bunions.
Now, did you know that the bones in your child’s feet don’t fully harden until their late teens? This means that over-tight shoes in childhood have the effect of deforming the shape of the foot from the outset.
Research has shown that shoes also affect the gait of children. With shoes, children walk faster by taking longer steps with greater ankle and knee movement, and less foot movement. When running, shoes encourage children to land on their heels and spend more time on the ground on each stride. Whilst not showing a definite cause, Harvard University research has shown that runners who land on their heels have twice the injury rate of runners who land on their forefoot.
A review of children’s shoes and gait, published in the journal Pediatrics outlined the following factors: optimum foot development happens while barefoot; stiff and compressive footwear may cause deformity, weakness and loss of mobility in the foot; the term ‘corrective shoes’ is a misnomer, and; shoe selection for children should be based on a barefoot model.
What does all this mean for parents when looking for shoes? Well, the roomier, flatter and more flexible, the better. Essentially, the closer the shoe is to not wearing shoes at all, the less it will affect your child’s foot development. Better still, around the house and when the weather is good enough, let them go barefoot: their feet will get stronger and they’ll love it!
For all your foot problems, visit The Podiatrist