3 Ways to Prevent Youth Sports Injuries
Even in normal times, youth sports injuries are common. Kids want to do their best, and coaches push them to work harder than ever. Then, when you factor in COVID 19 lockdowns, problems become even more likely.
After all, many kids spent a full year moving less than ever before. And serious athletic training was just a distant memory. Then, as restrictions loosened and youth sports training started up again, some kids were tempted to train hard enough to make up for that missed time. Which, unfortunately, created a spike in youth sports injuries.
Fortunately, the team of trained podiatrists at Louetta Foot and Ankle Associates is ready to help injured athletes. As our patient Adria K. recently shared, “Dr. Walsh is compassionate, caring, professional and amazing with children! Having a son who plays baseball year round (and loves to be barefoot outside in the rain as well) I imagine she and I will be friends for a long time. My son has seen Dr. Walsh for the past year and for three different injuries. She does not hesitate on her treatment and I am thankful for the fact that she is honest with me as a mom herself. Her office is gorgeous and the staff is courteous and kind. Dr. Walsh is extremely patient with my son and to answer any questions I have. Thank you Dr. Walsh for seeing that my catcher will be baseball ready now and for life! GREAT JOB!”
Of course, we’d rather prevent youth sports injuries than treat them after the fact. And, for that reason, we’re offering our top tips for protecting young athletes’ feet. So read on for a healthier summer sports season!
Go Slow to Prevent Youth Sports Injuries
The best way to prevent sports injuries is for kids to gradually get back to training. That’s because many overuse injuries (like heel pain) often happen when you suddenly increase your training intensity. To stay safe, pick one sport initially and focus on regaining your stamina there. Even if kids used to play multiple sports, sticking with one form of activity now can help keep your child’s body from too much strain.
Then, once your child gets back into that sport, he or she should start training at 50% of the former training capacity. After a week or two, under careful supervision, it’s ok to gradually increase the intensity. But watch out for any pain or signs of injury. And quickly cut back on training (or rest entirely) if your child mentions any discomfort.
Take Stock of Kids’ Current State of Foot Health
Before getting back on the field or court, talk to your child’s coaches and doctor about his or her current health conditions. Many kids gained weight during the shut down, which puts more pressure on their feet. Some may experience new foot pain from spending too much time at home and barefoot.
Whatever the situation for your child, it’s possible to avoid youth sports injuries, even when he or she resumes training. But if you talk to the experts in your child’s life before resuming activity, you’re far less likely to experience problems down the road.
Plan a New Way to Train
At first, you’ll probably need to say goodbye to two-a-days and bleacher runs. After all, young athletes have a higher risk for stress fractures or strained muscles because their bodies are still developing.
To protect young athletes, especially after an extended shut down, coaches should switch up practices. To gradually rebuild strength and stamina for young athletes, a mix of walking, cardio and strength training is the best bet.
In fact, according to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, it’s a great idea to focus on these three areas as early as six weeks before the start of the youth sports season. Need a sample get-ready schedule? Here’s what their pediatric safety experts recommend for high school aged athletes:
Week 1: Run a mile every other day
Week 2: Run 1.5 miles every other day
Week 3: Run 2 miles every other day
Week 4: Run a mile every day
Week 5: Run 1.5 miles every day
Week 6: Run 2 miles every day
On the off days of each training week, add in strength training, as advised by your doctor and your child’s coaches.
Treating Youth Sports Injuries in Spring, TX
If your student athlete is already dealing with an injury, stop all physical activity right away. Many coaches will urge young athlete’s to train through pain—especially if there’s a big game on the schedule. But doing so will jeopardize your child’s future athletic experience. (in fact, it could even change the way he or she is able to walk as an adult.)
For that reason, if your child mentions foot or ankle pain during or after sports practice, call our pediatric sports podiatrists right away, and ask for an immediate appointment. Together, we’ll help your child recover from his or her injury. And we’ll do so in a way that ensures a bright athletic future!
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