Spring sports are starting in the next few weeks, and the transition from winter sports can present a unique set of risks and challenges.
Different types of shoe gear, impact activities and playing surfaces can all be problematic if not assessed and addressed properly. Giving your muscles, bones and tendons time to reset and adapt to the changes is key. Here are a few tips, endorsed by the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons and Advanced Podiatry that can make all the difference.
- Get a pre-season health and wellness check-up.
Having a medical evaluation in advance to the start of a season can help identify possible health concerns that have the potential to lead to injury.
- Take it slow.
Ask your child's coach to gradually increase their playing time during practice, and avoid pushing them full throttle. It's important your child's feet and ankles become accustomed to the level of activity required for the sport they are entering. Adequate conditioning can help keep a player free of injury and improve their performance during the season.
- Wear proper, broken-in shoes.
Different sports require different shoe gear. Wearing the appropriate, well-fitting, broken-in athletic shoes designed for a specific sport can eliminate heel and toe discomfort and improve your child's performance.
- Check their technique.
Most parents are their child's biggest cheerleaders. As such, you may be able to notice a difference in your child's form and technique, which often times is a tell-tale sign something may be wrong. Ask your child's coach to notify you if s/he is placing more weight on one side of their body, or if it is something more obvious like a limp.
- Insist on open communication if your child has pain.
Express to your child athlete that they should inform you and their coach of any pain or discomfort as Es and shin splints. The sooner an injury can be detected, the sooner it can be treated.
- If an injury occurs, remember R.I.C.E.
Often times, an injured foot or ankle can be healed with rest, ice, compression, and elevation (R.I.C.E.). If your child complains of foot or ankle pain, they should take a break from playing and allow time for recovery. If the pain persists, it may be the cause of something more serious. Consult a foot and ankle surgeon for a complete evaluation.