Soccer season is in full swing! We recently discussed young children and heel pain while playing soccer. Today we will discuss some of the more common soccer injuries. It is very important to observe and listen to your children about their complaints of foot and ankle pain. Soccer is a very physically demanding sport and the running associated with it places excessive stress on a young foot. Many times, parents and coaches are not aware of just how serious an injury may be. Parents should be vigilant about not letting their children play through foot and ankle pain. I always tell my patients that it is always better to sit out a few games to rest an injury and recover rather than miss out on an entire season!
Here are some common injuries to be on the look-out for:
- Stress fractures
- Can present as lingering heel pain or foot pain and upon testing can be a stress fracture. These can be very subtle and difficult to pick up. They are often not visible immediately and will show up on later x-rays.
- Overuse injuries such as plantar fasciitis or achilles tendonitis
- Pain caused by inflammation and overuse.
- Ankle sprains
- Extremely common! Needs to be evaluated immediately to assess the extent of injury or damage.
- See in skeletally immature individuals in which the growth plates become inflamed. In young children, the growth plates have not closed yet and the bones are still growing and maturing (until ages 13-16). When there is constant and repetitive motions this can aggravate the growth plates and cause pain and inflammation.
In short, don’t just tell your child to “walk it off” or “no pain, no gain”. They may need to be evaluated and treated for a more serious injury.