Now that we are well and truly into the winter sport season our young sporting stars may be complaining of some aches and pains. Due to the nature of football codes it is not uncommon for our kids to suffer from foot, ankle and leg injuries at this time of the season.
These injuries may range from a bump or a bruise, sprained ankle or something a bit more serious like a fracture. Participating in sport should be an enjoyable experience and therefore attending to pain and injury is essential to ensure our children continue to enjoy their sport.
Inversion Ankle Sprain
The most common injury suffered across all the football codes would have to be an inversion ankle sprain. An inversion ankle sprain occurs when the ankle rolls and is twisted inwards overstretching and damaging the ligaments on the outside of the ankle. The severity of the injury can vary greatly. In minor sprains this can consist of damage to a few ligament fibres resulting in a small amount of pain and swelling around the ankle. In the most severe cases, rupture of the ankle ligaments and damage to the bone can occur. Severe injuries involving rupture or minor fracture usually result in severe pain, swelling, bruising and often an inability to put weight on the foot.
Initial treatment should follow the regime of rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE). Depending on the severity of the injury, crutches, ankle braces or cast walkers may be required to offload and support the ankle. Poorly treated ankle sprains will often result in a recurrence of the injury and consequently a weakness and instability placing the player at an increased risk of further injury therefore a visit to your local podiatrist is recommended to ensure a proper treatment plan is initiated.
As a podiatrist heel pain is one of the most frequent problems to walk or hobble through the door. Active children aged between 8 and 13 are particularly susceptible to heel pain or as we call it Severs disorder. This problem is caused by inflammation around the growth plate on the back of the calcaneus or heel bone where the Achilles tendon attaches. As the child grows the calf muscles and the Achilles tendon will often tighten up resulting in increased pulling on the back of the heel and growth plate resulting in inflammation and pain. This problem responds particularly well to treatment which usually involves stretches for the calf muscles, ice on the area and innersoles or orthotics to help elevate and stabilise the heel to reduce tension around the growth plate.
Shin Splints And Arch Pain
Shin pain (shin splints) and arch pain also top the list as the more common complaints we see in active kids. These two problems can often come on gradually, starting as a mild ache during sport progressing to become a constant problem, impairing the child’s ability to participate in sport. Some kids will be more prone to these problems and this type of pain can often indicate that their feet and legs are not coping with the extra stress and strain that their sport places on them. Kids who have really flexible flat feet or feet that over pronate (roll in) are most at risk of these problems. This is because the muscles that run up the inside and front of the shin bone and the along the underside of the arch work extra hard to keep the feet and legs stable and prevent them from rolling in and flattening out too much.
These Problems Are Treatable
The good news is that these problems are treatable and should not prevent our future footy stars from running around the park.
We recommend a check-up with a podiatrist when:
• Your child complains of recurrent pain in the feet and or legs.
• Your child is constantly tripping or falling.
• You notice any skin rashes, hard skin lumps or bumps on your child’s feet.
• Or if you have any other concerns about your child’s feet.