Playing sports is great for kids! Sports teach kids teamwork, discipline, communication, and the importance of physical fitness. Not to mention, they are just fun! 

However, the dark side of playing too many sports at a young age is an increase in musculoskeletal injuries in our young athletes. Adolescent sports have changed over the decades. Playing with the neighborhood kids in the backyard has been replaced by increasingly competitive events – even for the young athlete. What are some of the factors that contribute to foot and ankle injuries in young athletes?

  • Overuse injuries: when children specialize in one sport at a young age, it puts them at risk for repetitive musculoskeletal trauma.
  • Year-round sports: when children aren’t able to cycle through periods of rest, their muscles,  bones and joints don’t get enough time to rest and repair.
  • Biomechanics: when youth are not being guided in the proper strength, stretching, warm-up, and other injury prevention routines, they are at increased risk for injury.

When an injury does occur, it is very important to seek specialized medical care. For example, an improperly treated and rehabilitated ankle sprain could set an athlete up for future sprains and eventually even the need for surgery. Or, a misdiagnosed fracture that is improperly treated could lead to lifelong pain and loss of function.

Focusing on injury prevention is one of the most important things we can do as we encourage our children’s development as young athletes. Teaching our kids to listen to their bodies and rest when needed might be the most difficult skill they will develop through participation in sports. We want to encourage our kids to enjoy a wide variety of sports while they are young so that they can avoid many of the overuse injuries that can happen. When injuries inevitably do happen, make sure that your child’s feet and ankles are being treated by a foot and ankle specialist who is able to correctly diagnoses and rehabilitate the injury. At Southwest Austin Foot & Ankle Clinic, we can help your child get the proper diagnosis and treatment to get them back to their sports as soon as possible. Give us a call at 512-447-4122 if foot and ankle sports injuries are keeping your family from enjoying their athletic pursuits!