When I think of Fall, I think pumpkins, bonfires, and the trees slowly changing to hues of reds, yellow and oranges. Football also stands out in my mind. This year, our oldest son, Brett, is playing on the high school football team. As I watch the players bolting up and down the field, the podiatrist in me thinks of possible injuries. Growing children are skeletally immature, which increases the chances for breaks, sprains and worse…growth plate injuries. Often, coaches and parents aren’t aware of the importance of receiving treatment as soon as possible. Below are a few things to watch for and tips to keep your football player on the field and off the bench this season.

  • Growth plates are still open and maturing until 13-16 years old. Some children have issues with inflammation in the growth plate (apophysitis) which causes pain. Treatment can be as simple as rest but sometimes requires a more aggressive treatment such as immobilization or physical therapy.
  • Don’t let past injuries haunt this year’s season. If your child has had an injury in the past, have his or her foot evaluated by a podiatrist. Be certain that old injuries have healed properly to refrain from reinjuring.
  • Tendonitis sounds like something that only the older population gets, but football players are actually at a high risk for Achilles tendonitis. Continuous use and strain to the Achilles tendon can cause inflammation which, over time, can lead to deterioration of the tendon. Pain and difficulty walking are your first signs that you need to see your podiatrist.
  • Football players also commonly suffer from a hyperextension injury to the first metatarsalphalangeal joint…or in more common terms, a sprain in your “big toe”. Whether it be the receiver pushing  off of the ground to run for that touchdown or the defense digging in to block the opponent this injury can put you on the bench. It’s then time to see your podiatrist.

If you’re the parent of a young athlete, don’t wait until the injury happens to see a podiatrist! Take the first step of prevention and schedule your appointment with the experts at Carolina Podiatry today.

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