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Six Tips to Protect Kids in Fall Sports

Cleats

Every fall season, 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.

If your children are playing sports this fall, here are six tips that could protect them from serious ankle injuries:

  • Get ankle injuries treated right away. What seems like a sprain is not always a sprain; in addition to cartilage injuries, your son or daughter might have injured other bones in the foot without knowing it. Have a qualified doctor examine the injury. The sooner rehabilitation starts, the sooner long-term problems like instability or arthritis can be prevented and the sooner your child can get back into competition.
  • Have old sprains checked by a doctor before the season starts. A medical checkup 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.
  • Buy the right shoe for the sport. Different sports require different shoe gear. Players should not mix baseball cleats with football shoes.
  • 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 cannot lie flat.
  • Check playing fields for dips, divots and holes. Most sports-related ankle sprains are caused by jumping and running on uneven surfaces. That is why some surgeons recommend that parents walk the field, especially when children compete in nonprofessional 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.
  • Encourage stretching and warm-up exercises. Calf stretches and light jogging before competition help warm up ligaments and blood vessels, reducing the risk for ankle injuries.

Make the Switch from Sandals to Shoes Safely

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As you transition from summer sandals and bare feet to shoes and socks for the fall, keep in mind that this change can cause foot problems. Some issues you may run into maybe:

  1. Ingrown Toenails– Wearing enclosed or improperly sized shoes can lead to ingrown toenails. Trim your
    toenails straight across and wear shoes that are not tight in the toe box.
  2. Irritated Bunions, Bone Spurs & Hammertoes
    Constant rubbing on your feet from shoes can irritate any existing hammertoes, bunions or bone spurs. Wear socks and properly fitting shoes and consider having your shoe stretched in the areas of irritation to provide some relief.
  3. Neuroma Flare-Ups– Tight-fitting, enclosed shoes can trigger neuromas, or nerve pain. Make sure your shoes
    provide enough room in the toe area so your toes are not squeezed or irritated.
  4. Toenail Fungus– Fungus thrives in dark, moist and warm environments, such as your shoes. To prevent
    fungal growth, disinfect your shoes and wear different pairs to allow them to air out. Also remove any leftover summer nail polish from your toes. Nail polish seals the nail and traps moisture, which can create a breeding ground for fungus.

Keep Your Feet Safe and Your Yard Clean

Fall is the time to clear out the remains of summer gardens from the yard. Keep your feet and ankles safe from injury by following these helpful tips:

  • Wear Appropriate Shoes for the Task. No matter how warm it is, don’t wear sandals. Wear sturdy leather shoes with support to protect your feet from sharp objects, including the blades from power equipment.
  • Speaking of Power Equipment… Keep Children Away. Protect your kids and others from severe trauma. Leaf blowers, power lawn mowers and chainsaws should not be left out where kids are playing or where other inexperienced users have access.
  • Don’t Work on Wet Surfaces. You could easily slip and injure an ankle when carrying heavy loads across wet grass or leaves in your yard.Related image
Remember, yard work is a workout! Warm up and perform stretching exercises before starting yard work, just as you would before working out at the gym. By stretching prior to activity, you can help avoid stressing muscles and tendons in the foot, ankle and calves.

Take Control of Diabetes

November is American Diabetes Month…a good time to remind any family members with this disease that good foot care must be a part of their overall treatment regimen. Circulatory and nerve damage problems caused by diabetes can leave patients with serious foot ulcers and other conditions that, left untreated, can result in amputation.

Help keep your family members on their feet! Anyone with diabetes should follow these guidelines:

  1. Inspect your feet daily. Check for cuts, blisters, redness, swelling or nail problems. Call our office to schedule an appointment if you notice any changes in your foot or ankle.
  2. Moisturize your feet. Use a moisturizer to keep dry skin from itching or cracking. But DON’T moisturize between the toes—this can lead to increased moisture and may cause a fungal infection or rubbing between the toes.
  3. Keep your feet warm and dry. Don’t get your feet wet in snow or rain. Wear warm socks and shoes in the winter.
  4. Have your feet checked.  A yearly check up or more often if poor blood flow to the foot or nerve damage is present.