If you have a child who plays sports, it is no question that you want to make sure they’re in good health and stay safe. While minor aches and pains associated with exercise are common and typically nothing to worry about, the same cannot be said for aches and pains in the feet and ankles. If your child feels any discomfort in their ankles after a sports activity, they could be suffering from an ankle sprain or other ankle injury.
According to a study conducted by the American Orthopedic Foot & Ankle Society (AOFAS), adults who suffered a youth ankle sprain while playing sports had increased levels of pain and related symptoms 3 to 25 years later. This included poor ankle function, reduced sport participation, poor balance, and fear of pain.
Preventing Ankle Injury
Youth ankle sprains and other injuries can be serious and harmful. Thankfully, there are several steps your child can take to significantly decrease the risk of ankle injury.
- Warm Up & Cool Down
While many kids may be anxious to get started, it is important to start with a proper warm up to loosen and prepare the muscles for exercise. Stretches that focus on the muscles in the feet and ankles – such as toe touches – are ideal. A cool down at the end of the exercise is also very useful in helping to prevent ankle injury.
- Proper Equipment & Techniques
It is important that your child uses the correct shoes designated for their sport. If you’re unsure about what equipment your child needs, it is best to ask the coach. Learning the proper form and techniques for optimal performance is also critical in preventing youth ankle sprains.
- Know When to Stop and See a Podiatrist
If your child experiences any discomfort or pain in their feet and ankles, it is important for them to stop and get evaluated. Take your child to see a skilled podiatrist that specializes in pediatric foot and ankle care. If injuries are ignored, they have the potential to grow more serious and threaten the health of your child’s ankle.