Fall is finally here. The weather is cooling down, leaves are changing, your kids are back in school and lets not forget FOOTBALL SEASON!! It is time, yet again, to huddle up in the stands, grab some snacks, and watch as players leave their blood, sweat, and tears on the field; to bring glory and all the associated bragging rights to their team, fans, friends, and families. Yes, this is great fun for just about everyone, but many parents can’t help but worry about their little star athletes; even when they’re not so little anymore. Mom’s not really all that crazy as there are plenty of ways to develop sports related injuries.
Sports injuries stemming from the feet are a frequently overlooked topic. Specifically in terms of how the arch of one’s foot, and overuse of said arch, can effect performance and how frequent injuries come about.
MOM’S!! If you’re reading this and it applies to your child, don’t freak out and take him or her out of the league. Just stay mindful of your child’s situation, actively treat the problem area, and stay in contact with your podiatrist. Your child CAN have fun AND be safe.
Believe it or not, many issues in the body stem from the feet.
An athlete’s feet are pounded heavily as they play sports, but the shape of one’s arch can change how much of an impact this has. Certain literature states that a “low arch foot has been described as a better shock absorber than a normal foot with high arch, and has shown decreased force and pressure compared to a normal arch” . In addition, individuals with higher arches “have demonstrated stiffer foot mechanics” and a bit more difficulty turning the foot inward from the ankle.
Football, just like most sports, requires tons of “split-second” movements (e.g. cutting, pivoting, etc.). This forces athletes to land and/or push off from the medial part of their foot, regardless of how their arch is situated. “In particular, participants with a high arch increase maximum force in the medial heel and medial forefoot, which potentially increases the risk of a stress-related injury.” Conversely, athletes with lower arches will potentially experience less pain in there arches, feet, or ankles and, instead, feel more discomfort in their knees and other parts of their leg. These pains and injuries are not exclusive to athletes, but they will likely experience them at a younger age and/or more often due to increased usage.
Many issues associated with the foot’s arch can be avoided with the correct footwear. Follow these tips to prevent sports related injuries and make sure to see your podiatrist for any signs or symptoms of injury.
Tips to prevent Sports-Related Injuries
- Have old sprains checked by a doctor before the season starts. A medical check-up can reveal whether your child’s previously injured ankle might be vulnerable to sprains, and could possibly benefit from wearing a supportive ankle brace during competition.
- Buy the right shoe for the sport. Different sports require different shoe gear. Players shouldn’t mix baseball cleats with football shoes.
- Children should start the season with new shoes. Old shoes can wear down like a car tire and become uneven on the bottom, causing the ankle to tilt because the foot can’t lie flat.
- Check playing fields for dips, divots and holes. Most sports-related ankle sprains are caused by jumping and running on uneven surfaces. That’s why some surgeons recommend parents walk the field, especially when children compete in non-professional settings like public parks, for spots that could catch a player’s foot and throw them to the ground. Alert coaching officials to any irregularities.
- Encourage stretching and warm-up exercises. Calf stretches and light jogging before competition helps warm up ligaments and blood vessels, reducing the risk for ankle injuries.
Cornerstone Foot & Ankle is a full-service foot and ankle specialty office with locations in Sewell, Cherry Hill, Marlton, Mt. Holly, Woodbury, and Glassboro; serving the South Jersey region. We offer a full suite of services including surgery, fracture care, fungal nail care, diabetic foot care, pediatric podiatry, custom braces and orthotics, wound care, limb salvage, and treatments for arch pain, heel pain, and sports injuries; just to name a few. If it hurts below your knee, we can help you! CALL NOW or request your appointment online TODAY!