Preventing Sports Injuries: What Parents Need to Know

Soccer. Cheerleading. Cross Country. Golf. Tennis. Volleyball. Football. If you’re the parent of a kid in the Solon, Ohio public schools, you know what these have in common. It’s fall sports time!

Along with these sports come injuries to the feet and ankles, guaranteed. Sorry, parents, but if you’ve got a kid playing school sports, you’ve got to be prepared for this reality. Acute trauma – sudden, unavoidable accidents – will happen. But you’d be surprised how much is in your power to help kids avoid other types of injury.

Here are some typical children’s sports injuries we treat at Foot & Ankle Associates of Cleveland and how you can avoid them:

Too much too soon– kids are at risk for muscle strain, ligament tears, and other sprains when they tough it out on the tennis court for three straight hours or run 10 miles on the first day of practice. Find out how their coach plans to build up their endurance first.

Overuseinjuries are also called repetitive stress injuries. Performing the same exercises and drills over and over sets a child up for an overuse injury such as Achilles tendinitis or shin splints. One way to avoid these types of injuries is to encourage your child to rest often and to branch out into other sports instead of playing soccer year-round.

Lousy equipment– sometimes the difference between staying on your feet and suffering a sprained ankle is the quality of the team’s equipment. If equipment is old, worn-out, cracked or bent, it’s more likely to cause a trip or a fall. The same goes for clothing and protective gear like helmets and shin guards: make sure they fit well and aren’t worn out.

Wrong footwear– kids need running shoes for cross-country, cleats for soccer, and court shoes for tennis.  Choose the right athletic shoe. Remember, too, that children’s feet can grow rapidly, so check often to make sure they’ve still got the right size.

Parents, take an active role in your child’s foot and ankle health. Talk to your kids if you suspect they’re in pain. Touch base with their coach with your concerns. And make an appointment with podiatrists Dr. Megan L. Oltmann and Dr. Craig B. Frey for expert diagnosis and treatment of your child’s foot pain, sprain, or fracture. Call us at (440) 903-1041.