At Patrick Fettinger, DPM, we know there are currently numerous Fairfield County plans for starting up fall sports. From schools to town and privately run teams, coaches, players, and parents are all trying to develop safe ways for children to participate in fall sports this year. Although COVID safety may be foremost in our minds, it’s important to remember to do appropriate conditioning and take the necessary precautions to avoid injuries to feet and ankles. Below are four injuries we frequently see in our New Fairfield (203-746-9660) and Middlebury (203-598-0357) offices and how to prevent them.
Ankle Sprains—wearing the right shoes for the sport and making sure is no wear can help decrease the risk of ankle-twisting injuries. A shoe that has become stretched out in the heel counter allows the foot to move around too much and thus increases an ankle sprain risk. Ensuring the playing field or surface is well-maintained without holes, severe divots, or debris will also help.
Shin Splints—although not usually seriously harmful, shin splints can sideline a player because of the pain they cause on either side of the front of the lower leg bone. Inflammation of muscles or tendons can often cause shin splints.
Taking time to stretch before and after practice and games will make shin splints less likely. Sometimes they can be caused by an arch problem. Our podiatrist, Dr. Patrick J. Fettinger, can examine your child’s feet and determine if flat feet are an issue. In some cases, a custom orthotic may be prescribed to increase comfort.
Achilles Tendonitis—this long and strong tendon that connects your calf muscle to your heel bone can become inflamed if your child jumps into their fall sport after a sedentary summer. A sudden increase in physical activity, hill running, and sprints can all aggravate the Achilles. Slow and steady training sessions that gradually increase in intensity and duration are the way to go.
Sever’s Disease—if your child complains of heel pain, the podiatrist may want to check for this condition, which isn’t a disease. Sever’s tends to afflict children ages 8-15. That’s because the growth plate at the back of the heel is still developing through adolescence, leaving a vulnerable area inflamed from overuse. Be sure your child has rest days and doesn’t play multiple sports without a break between seasons.
For more information about sports injuries in children, don’t hesitate to contact us.