At Patrick Fettinger, DPM LLC we know that spring sports are heating up in Fairfield County and lots of young athletes are getting out on the fields and courts. Too often, however, we see injuries and chronic foot disorders as a result of sports. The good news is that many of these can be prevented and parents can play a key role in ensuring that their child enjoys a safe season.
Check Up on Young Feet
Before your child suits up for a new sport, an examination at our New Fairfield (203-746-9660) or Middlebury (203-598-0357) office is a smart idea, especially if there has been a previous foot or ankle injury or an ongoing podiatric condition. Our foot doctor, Patrick Fettinger, DPM will analyze your child’s foot and determine if there are any special needs or accommodations necessary for safe sport participation. Protection against disorders like chronic ankle instability and heel pain will prevent injury and help your child play pain-free. A service we offer that is particularly helpful in sports medicine is computerized gait scan. This tool can help diagnose biomechanical dysfunction and improve athletic performance.
Choose the Right Footwear
No matter what sport your child plays, the equipment that is most important is the same: their shoes. Appropriate footwear prevents injuries. Shoes should:
- Fit properly—get feet professionally measured at a sports shoe store
- Be designed for the specific sport your child plays
- Have good ankle and arch support
- Not be hand me downs
The final component for a safe and successful season is a sound program. Your child should be coached by a qualified person who understands the sport and the conditioning necessary to play it. Practices should emphasize proper technique and drills should include appropriate time for stretching and warming up as well as a cool down period at the end. Training should start slowly and gradually increase in intensity and duration to prevent lower extremity injuries like Achilles tendonitis and shin splints. There should also be days off and periods of rest to avoid overuse injuries such as stress fractures and Sever’s disease.
If after starting a sport your child experiences foot or ankle pain, never encourage them to “play through it.” Contact us for an appointment so that we evaluate your child’s condition and prescribe any necessary treatment.