How To Prevent Sports-Related Foot Injuries in Young Athletes
(guest post from Dr. Charlton Woodly)
As the cold sets in students are transitioning into the winter sports season. Basketball, cheerleading, dance, soccer, wrestling. The list goes on and on. Your little athletes have the equipment and uniforms they need for practice and they have the team spirit they need to win their games, but most are overlooking one significant thing: taking precaution to prevent sports-related foot injuries. All athletes are at risk of foot related injuries while being active this winter.
As a podiatrist, I frequently see young athletes who become injured while in the field or at practice. Soccer and football are amongst the most common sports that cause foot related injuries, but the truth is any sport that requires running can lead to an injury. Not to fret! Most sports-related injuries are preventable if you take precaution. Here are 5 tips to protect your little athletes this winter sports season.
Finding the Perfect Shoe
Think of athletes as Cinderella when it comes to shoes. Athletes need the perfect shoe while being active. It is important to pick a pair of shoes that is specific to the athlete’s foot and can provide support in all the needed areas. Every sport is played differently and requires the human body to move in different ways, therefore, it is imperative to purchase shoes that are required by that sport. Keep in mind that old shoes can be worn down and become uneven which can cause the ankle to tilt or the arch to fall, that’s why you should always purchase new shoes at the start of every sports season. I often see children wearing flip-flops when doing any outdoor activity. This is a big problem because flip-flops lack support and can easily cause sprains and strains to the foot, and could potentially hurt your child’s knees, lower back, and hips.
Feet are the foundation to a child’s body, the type of shoes they wear are very important. The shoes worn should have enough support to help a child balance. APMA.ORG is a good source to check out shoes that are recommended for children and adults.
Get Old Injuries Professionally Examined
A pre-season physical is very important to identify if an athlete is a healthy state to be active this sports season. During this physical, doctors can examine any previous injuries to see if they are vulnerable to becoming worse.
Getting Nutrients & Staying Hydrated
It is important for young athletes to eat a well-balanced meal, as well as take in enough fluids to stay hydrated. Eating a nutrient packed meal is key in building strong bones and resisting stress fractures. Hydrated muscles perform better than dehydrated muscles because circulation is improved and staying hydrated helps maintain normal blood pressure.
Warming, Cooling, & Resting
Many forget the what you do before and after practice being active is just as important when taking preventative measures. I always advise parents on the importance of stretching before and after practice. Warming up before any physical activity helps prepare your muscles, ligaments, tendons, and blood vessels. It is also important to have a cool down routine after being active, this will prevent your blood from pooling in the lower extremities of your body and prevent muscle soreness. And as with most things in life, it is important to get enough rest. A lack of sleep and muscle fatigue can cause your muscles to be overworked, which could lead to injury.
Seek Treatment ASAP
The sooner you get an injury examined the better it is for you in the long run. Injuries can lead to long term health issues such as arthritis. Seeking treatment as soon as you can lower the chances of experiencing these long-term issues.
About Dr. Woodly
Dr. Charlton Woodly is a highly-trained, board certified podiatrist who brings over 14 years of experience to providing conservative and surgical treatments to patients at Woodly Foot & Ankle in both Weatherford and Richland Hills, Texas. A specialist in minimally-invasive procedures and a Hyprocure Master Surgeon, Dr. Woodly is an expert in treating the full spectrum of foot and ankle conditions and injuries, including sports injuries, neuropathy, plantar fasciitis, and toenail fungus.
Dr. Charlton earned his medical degree at New York College of Podiatric Medicine, followed by an internship and residency at Gouverneur Healthcare Services in Manhattan and Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx. In addition to treating patients in his private practice, Dr. Woodly is on staff at Weatherford Regional Medical Center. He is a member of the American Podiatric Medical Association and the Texas Podiatric Medical Association.