Protecting Feet from Fall Sports
The fall sports season is in full swing for kids across the country. While the positives definitely outweigh the negatives when it comes to kids getting active again and suiting up for practices and games, rigorous athletic participation can put feet at risk.
Pain, injuries, even infections of the lower limbs are common among athletes. This year, we’ve even been challenged by a September heat wave that blanketed normally cool fall fields with 90+ degree heat! That makes it especially important to keep feet protected for your sports-loving son or daughter.
- Shoes for your sport. The best shoe for a volleyball player, for example, may not be the same as one for a tennis player. (If you have a daughter somehow managing to play both at the same time, she’s probably going to need different shoes for each). Every sport poses a unique set of stresses on feet. Sport-specific shoes provide features that help athletes deal with the challenges they’re most likely to face. For example, some need a more flexible sole, and others a more rigid one.
- Make sure the gear fits. Shoes that are too tight or too lose are associated with all kinds of problems, including ingrown toenails, heel pain, blisters, shin splints, and more.
- No hand-me-down shoes. We know you’re just trying to save some money, but used shoes are a bad idea for young athletes. Footwear that has already “molded” to the feet of another user will only cause stress and pain for its new owner. (Other equipment, such as pads or helmets, may be more suitable to be re-used by others if they remain in good condition.)
- Proper conditioning. Hopefully, your child has continued to remain active over the summer months with rec sports, running, or just good-old-fashioned play. However, if they’ve mostly been enjoying video games and air conditioning, it may not be so easy to go straight into competitive play. If possible, they should ease into new activities and gradually work up the intensity to avoid injury.
- Warm up before play and cool down after. Also, be sure to sleep well, eat right, and drink plenty of water. All these techniques reduce the risk of injury, not just to the feet but throughout the body.
- If your child struggles with foot pain from sports, they may benefit from custom-made orthotics, whether just for sports or for their everyday life.
If you have any fall sports athletes in your home, make sure you’re doing all you can to keep their feet in good shape! If problems do creep up, however, the wisest course of action is to have them see a specialist as early as possible. Often, ignoring a sports injury only draws out the pain, makes recovery more difficult, and increases the risk of more serious complications. To schedule an appointment at our office in Wichita, give us a call at (866) 222-5177.