As a Mom to 3 boys, I’m no stranger to sports injuries, orthopedist’s offices, stitches, and sprains. I keep a First Aid kit in each of our cars, and think that bringing a chest of ice or those nifty “break and activate” ice packs to kids’ sports isn’t going overboard by a long shot!
As the temperatures dip, it’s easy to overdo it while exercising, not realizing that our muscles may not be warm enough. Kids, who can play sports outside year-round regardless of the weather, may be more prone to accidents and sprains.
“Every fall, foot and ankle surgeons see an increase in ankle injuries among young athletes. Football, soccer and basketball are the sports most likely to lead to sprains, broken bones and other problems,” says Kansas City foot and ankle surgeon James Good, DPM. Good, who is a Fellow of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS), offers these additional tips for parents:
1 – 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.
2 – Buy the right shoe for the sport. Different sports require different shoe gear. Players shouldn’t mix baseball cleats with football shoes.
3 – 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.
4 – 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.
5 – 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.
Editor’s note: Medical tips are presented for information only — always consult your pediatrician or specialist for advice, especially when injuries are involved. For more great Dr. Mom tips, visit our website by clicking here.