Spring is here in Chicago and for many parents that means soccer season! Soccer is a great sport, building individual skills and teamwork as well as giving participants a good cardiovascular workout.
To make this a winning season for your child, make sure that you do all you can to prevent injuries. The constant running and change of body position while wearing the required cleats mean more risk of ankle sprains, foot injuries and lower leg fractures.
Equip Your Child with Well-Fitting Cleats
Cleats might help your child grip the field and improve traction, but they really are only a thin sole with spikes attached. There is little ankle support and, in fact, many injuries are caused by cleats that don’t fit well.
Never use hand-me-down cleats. Cleats as in all other types of footwear will mold to the prior owner’s foot shape and gait style. Also don’t fit the cleats tightly to minimize foot shifting as this adds too much pressure on the toes. In soccer the toes bear a significant load and tight shoes will only exacerbate painful toe and fore-foot problems.
Check and recheck for size even during the season – children (as you know) are always growing! Buy new cleats to ensure a proper fit and prevent injuries related to tight shoes.
Common Soccer Injuries
Since children’s bodies are still developing into their teen years, it’s unwise to let them continue to play sports when injured. Always take action if your child complains of pain or if you observe actions that may indicate pain.
Stavros O. Alexopoulos, DPM diagnoses and treats children’s sports injuries every day. The most common soccer injuries we see at our office are:
- Ankle sprains – these are very common in soccer due to the required running with quick turns and twisting. Have a doctor assess these injuries as some may be severe. R.I.C.E. treatment (Rest, Icing, applying Compression and Elevating the leg) along with immobilizing the area in a splint can bring relief from the pain and swelling.
- Overuse injuries – plantar fasciitis (heel pain) and Achilles tendonitis are common injuries where the pain and stiffness worsen gradually. R.l.C.E. treatments can allow damaged tendons and tissue to heal.
- Stress fractures – these are painful with local swelling but may not show on an x-ray.
- Toe problems – poorly fitting cleats can cause the big toe to jam with resulting pain and swelling, and sometimes the toe will fracture. Taping the toe can help immobilize it and with resting will promote healing. Ingrown toenails are also common with tight cleats and can be very painful. Please see us to treat this condition successfully and without infection.
We Can Help with Any Foot and Ankle Sports Injuries
Dr. Alexopoulos, board certified podiatrist has extensive experience in diagnosing and treating pediatric foot and ankle problems of all kinds, including sports injuries. Many treatments and surgeries can be addressed right here in our office. Please call our Chicago office at (773) 561-8100 or request an appointment via the website. Get help for your child’s injury quickly to avoid serious complications.