Encouraging an active lifestyle is an important part of giving your child the tools they will need to live a healthy life. That being said, young athletes are certainly capable of injuring themselves. Heel pain in young athletes is always worth addressing. In fact, they’re a bit more prone to injury for a couple of reasons.
- They have yet to perfect their technique. Improper form is one of the most common causes of injury regardless of the sport/activity.
- They’re still growing. Many of their joints haven’t reached their final form, and that makes them vulnerable.
As a result of these vulnerabilities, it is far more likely that your child will experience an injury to their heel(s), ankle(s), or knee(s). These junctures take a pounding during regular play and most organized sports, so it makes sense that they might be pushed too far on occasion. The good news is that most of these injuries are highly treatable as long as you know to identify a possible issue to their doctor long before the condition becomes chronic. To keep your children healthy, it is important to know the primary signs of youth sports injuries.
Heel Pain in Young Athletes: Acknowledging Heel Pain
If your child needs to pay a visit to the Heel Pain Institute of California, then they are likely to display at least one of three core symptoms. Are they:
- Clearly limping?
- Appearing to favor walking on their toes, when that wasn’t a demonstrable habit prior to recognizing the change?
- Appearring to hesitate or struggle when running or jumping?
When your child displays any of these symptoms, ask them if they’re experiencing discomfort at the back or bottom of their heel. Driven children are less likely to identify clear pain, so using the category of discomfort may help. As an additional test, you may also put slight pressure on the outside of the child’s heel. The test is not absolute, but if they experience clear pain then you know a trip to your pediatric podiatrist is necessary. If the test is inconclusive, you may start with your primary care physician before reaching out to a specialist.
Realizing the Effects of Ankle Pain
Children who are experiencing ankle pain are more likely to demonstrate a pronounced limp. When the pain/discomfort is entirely based in the ankle, walking on the toes provides no relief. Is your child limping and clearly shifting the weight to one dominant leg? Then it is far more likely that the injury is based in the ankle. That is not to say that the situation is isolated.
Your child may still require minimally invasive heel surgery to correct damage to the tendons that support the structure of the heel. The truth is that they are also likely to require minor surgery to the ankle as well because the two structures rely on each other as support whenever your child is active.
When the Damage is More Extensive
There are some cases where knees, hips, shoulders, and elbows are involved. All of these joints are still developing. So there is every chance that the problem can be corrected with the help of a doctor who is prepared to deal with pediatric sports medicine. More often than not, these issues can be traced to improper technique.
Once they’re treated for the initial injury, you can work with a sports medicine doctor and your child’s podiatrist. Together, they can ensure that their body is being used properly and efficiently during their playful games and competitive events. Together, you can help to protect your child’s bones and joints as they grow. This will give them the best opportunities to build the life they want so badly.