As the spring and summer season starts, extended daylight hours and warmer weather mean many children are resuming outdoor sports and activities. Although sports and exercise are excellent for keeping little ones healthy, they are more vulnerable to foot and ankle injuries. So whether your little one loves kicking a soccer ball or running in track and field, we've provided a few tips to help your child avoid a sports injury this season.
Never Ask Them To Push Through Pain
It's common to encourage your kiddo to strive for excellence in their sport. However, asking your child to push their pain to achieve their goal can cause long-term issues that may prevent them from returning to their favorite activity. So, instead of urging them to play through the pain, use reassuring language to support your child, and avoid pressuring them to perform, especially if you notice your child is in pain. Additionally, if you or your child's coach pressures them to overwork themselves, exercising too hard too quickly is a common cause of many sports injuries. Consider asking how to incorporate techniques to avoid overuse into practices and routines.
Start With Stretches
One of the best ways to prevent a sports injury is to start with stretching. Even active little ones must warm up before exercise or sports practice. Therefore, speak with your child about how stretching before and after exercise will prepare tendons and muscles to prevent injuries like tendonitis and sprains. Here are a few fun stretches to do before and after movement:
- Toe Touch
- Shoulder Circles
- Child's Pose
- Arm Stretch
Always speak with your child's pediatrician about proper stretches for their specific sport, activity, and needs.
Choose the Right Gear
Depending on your child's preferred sport, using the correct clothing, protective equipment, and properly fitted gear is essential. For example, wearing specialty shoes, knee pads, and shin guards can help your little one avoid a lower limb sports injury. If you need help selecting the proper footwear for your child's activity, consider shopping at a specialty sports shoe store, and ask an associate for assistance locating the best shoe for your kiddo. For teens and young adults, The Right Shoe offers excellent podiatrist-approved footwear and accessories perfect for any activity.
Recognize Signs of Pain
Sometimes, accidents happen, and sports injuries occur. Children can be excellent at hiding pain, so as a parent or guardian, it's essential to recognize signs and symptoms of lower limb injuries. Learning the early pain signs can help you get to a doctor sooner, preventing further injury. Be on the lookout for signs of pain, such as:
- Frequent trips or falls
- Consistent discomfort during or after play
- Limping or favoring one side while running
- Avoiding showing the feet
- Rubbing the ankle or shifting feet regularly during activity
Some pain won't improve entirely with rest. Therefore, it's critical to communicate with your child's podiatrist and pediatrician as soon as these signs are evident. Be sure to notify their coach and discuss if removing your child from play is necessary.
Your little athlete shouldn’t have to sit on the sidelines all season. Preventing a sports injury is important and can help your child avoid long-term injury in their lower limbs. If your kiddo has experienced a sports injury, we will create a personalized treatment plan to get them back to action as quickly and safely as possible. Call (717) 757-3537 or visit our contact page to schedule an appointment.