Friday, 24 January 2014

Important facts about foot conditions faced by young athletes

Competitive sports demand active participation throughout the year which in turns necessitates extreme fitness level for young athletes. Young age may not safeguard the athlete from getting hurt suddenly. According to pediatric sports experts, if the child complains of incessant heel pain or any other foot discomfort then it should not be taken lightly. Sometimes these can be precise signs of even more serious foot problems to come.

Youngsters who are into regular sports activities might encounter injuries involving bones, ligaments, tendons or other soft tissues in the foot. Acute injuries which can happen all of a sudden include bruises, sprains or fractures. On the other hand, foot ailments that develop overtime are stress fractures and tendonitis. Young athletes belonging to the age group of 6-14 are mostly susceptible to such foot conditions. This is the age when their feet grow and heel bone develops. New bone formation happens in the growth plate, i.e. the area behind heels. If the foot undergoes excess strain or stress then this might result in sudden pull on the heel bone growth plate as well as severe inflammation of the cartilage. Such condition can also cause a stress-type fracture.

Getting hurt during sports activities is quite a common phenomenon. May be this is the reason why parents tend to ignore the child’s foot problems at an initial stage. While minor injuries can be treated at home, it is very important to take notice if your child is limping often, walking on his toes or showing reluctance to take part in regular sports activities. It should be kept in mind that accurate and timely diagnosis of foot conditions is the key to successful treatment. Make sure to consult an expert podiatrist in such circumstances. Based on detailed analysis of the child’s foot condition he might suggest a radiograph, ultrasound or even an MRI. A thorough and precise diagnosis is very important to prevent the foot problem turning into a chronic issue.

When the foot condition is related to young athletes, the treatment must ensure that the child is able to:-
  • Walk or run in full motion;
  • Walk on tiptoes without any discomfort;
  • Jump on both feet without feeling any pain;
  • Hop on the affected foot without any discomfort;
  • Maintain adequate balance while carrying out a single-leg stance on the affected foot/portion.

Podiatrists suggest different types of treatments, based on the extent of injury. While mild or modest conditions are treated with physical therapies, anti-inflammatory medicines or customized shoes, in extreme cases he may suggest ankle or foot casts or even surgery. The good news is that now there are many painless and hassle-free podiatric treatment procedures and parents need not worry about long term immobility of the budding athlete at home. They just need to get in touch with an expert podiatrist who is confident about treating foot conditions of athletes. After completion of treatment, it is even more crucial to follow the specialist’s instructions to minimize recurrence of the same foot problem.

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