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
Anyone from a well-conditioned athlete to the most inactive person can experience an ankle injury. Ankle injuries usually involve a sudden, unexpected loss of balance that results in a sharp twist of the ankle.
A strain occurs when a muscle or tendon overstretches. A sprain, which is more serious, occurs when the strong connective tissue that connects one bone to another (ligaments) become overstretched. In some cases, a ligament tears and may pull a fragment of bone with it. When a piece of bone is pulled away, it’s known as an avulsion fracture.
Everyone’s bone architecture is a little different and the arrangement of bone and muscle leaves us prone to injury. Uneven leg length, excessive pronation (flat feet), cavus foot (high arches), knee and hip alignment (bow legged or knock-knee) all play a part in creating weak points where injury may occur.
Sports-related injuries are part of the game and as athletes are becoming stronger, faster and better conditioned, higher energy injuries are becoming more common. Foot and ankle injuries are frequently designated as a sprain, which often minimizes the severity of the injury.
A healthy foot is necessary for running and push-off. These seemingly simple sprains can be devastating to the running athlete, often requiring an extended period of time to recover.
An ankle sprain is very common in normal daily activities – sports or otherwise. Although painful, it usually doesn’t cause any long-term problems, if treated properly.
However, if untreated, it can produce longer lasting problems, such as decreased strength, balance, flexibility and increased risk of re-injury. For the first 24 to 48 hours your ankle will probably swell and might even show some bruising. Minimize this by using the RICE formula – Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. Depending on the severity of the injury you may require physical treatments to restore joint range of motion, strength and joint stability.
See The Podiatrist if you have any problems.
Ice treatment is most commonly used for acute injuries. If you have a recent injury (within the last 48 hours) where swelling is a problem, you should be using ice treatment. Ice packs can help minimize swelling around the injury.
Ice packs are often used after injuries such as an ankle sprain have occurred. Applying an ice pack early and often for the first 48 hours will help minimize swelling. Decreasing swelling around an injury will help to control the pain.
Ice treatments may also be used for chronic conditions, such as overuse injuries in athletes. In this case, ice the injured area after activity to help control inflammation. Never ice a chronic injury before activity. An athlete who has chronic hip or knee pain that increases after running may want to ice the injured area after each run to reduce or prevent inflammation.
Ice is a vaso-constrictor (it causes the blood vessels to narrow) and it limits internal bleeding at the injury site. There is controversy as to whether continued application of ice results in a sudden vasodilatation of the blood vessels and if so, at what time this response begins and how often a cycle of constriction and dilation occurs.
To ice an injury, wrap ice in a thin towel and place it on the affected area for 10 minutes at a time. Allow the skin temperature to return to normal before icing a second or third time. You can ice an acute injury several times a day for up to three days.
Ice for no more than 20 minutes at a time, as too much ice can cause frostbite. More ice does not mean more relief.
Heat treatments should be used for chronic conditions to help relax and loosen tissues, and to stimulate blood flow to the area. Use heat treatments for chronic conditions, such as overuse injuries, before participating in activities.
Do not use heat treatments after activity, and do not use heat after an acute injury. Heating tissues can be accomplished using a heating pad, or even a hot, wet towel. When using heat treatments, be very careful to use a moderate heat for a limited time to avoid burns. Never leave heating pads or towels on for extended periods of time, or while sleeping.
Moist heat is best, so you could try using a hot, wet towel. You can buy special athletic hot packs or heating pads if you use heat often. Never leave heating pads on for more than 20 minutes at a time or while sleeping.
More about ice
• Sometimes ice may not be ideal for certain injuries, but there are still times when it can help an athlete out.
• Drinking ice water can lower your core temperature enough during training or racing on hot days to boost endurance. And putting ice on highly vascular areas during a race can be very beneficial too.
• Cryotherapy in the form of ice baths isn’t recommended for recovery and icing an area of soreness has not been linked to reducing delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), but cold baths may be beneficial. Cold baths or showers can help speed recovery, but this does not mean to sit in a bucket of ice: the idea is not to try to numb your body. If you have an area of your body that is tight or sore, say your calves, then you may help the healing and recovery by standing in a cold bucket of water. Make it cold enough so the ice slowly melts in the water.
See The Podiatrist if you have any injuries.