More kids these days are taking up recreational and organized sporting activities with a resultant increase in the number of injuries that need to be treated. Young people are more susceptible to soft tissue injuries that affect tendons, ligaments, and muscles.
Common overuse injuries in children include:
● Plantar fasciitis – the plantar fascia is the wide band of connective tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot. An overuse injury to this tissue can also be felt in the heel area, and heel spurs often occur.
● Sever’s disease - this is a severe stretching of the Achilles tendon.
● Jumper’s knee - an injury to the patellar tendon, which connects to the knee.
● Shin splints - pain and swelling in the shin area.
● Stress fractures - these are tiny cracks in bones that often occur from repetitive stress.
The method of treatment for repetitive stress injuries to the feet and ankles is best determined by your foot doctor and they will take into consideration your child’s age, the type of injury and how agreeable your child is to certain therapies and medications. Some of the treatments your foot care professional may recommend include the following:
● RICE - Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.
● Physical therapy – a variety of exercises can be incorporated into your treatment regimen to increase strength and flexibility and help reduce the chance of re-injury.
● Taking the weight off - the use of crutches or a wheelchair to remove the stress of weight on the injury.
● Surgery – may be necessary if the pain does not subside or if there is a tear in the soft tissue.
Fortunately, overuse injuries in children and adolescents tend to heal quickly and respond well to rest and physical therapy as long as a rehabilitation regimen recommended by their doctor is followed. Avoiding the complications associated with re-injury is very important to the long-term success of any treatment.
If you are concerned that your child may have an overuse injury, we highly recommend that you consult our board-certified podiatrists Andrew Shapiro, DPM and Michael Barkin, DPM. With access to advanced technologies, along with years of experience to help diagnose and treat a variety of foot and ankle problems, we can assist you with heel pain, ankle sprains, diabetic foot care, toe deformities, nail fungus, and skin problems, among many other conditions. Our practice is conveniently located on West Merrick Road in Valley Stream to accommodate all of your foot care needs. Call (516) 825-3860 or book an appointment online today!