Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Fall Is Time For Soccer Injuries In Children

Little Soccer Guy
(Photo credit: clappstar)
Parents and coaches should think twice before encouraging young soccer athletes to play through the pain this fall, especially children and adolescents who are injury prone.
"Skeletally immature kids, starting and stopping and moving side to side on cleats that are little more than moccasins with spikes- that's a recipe for foot and ankle sprains and worse," says Craig M. Kaufman, DPM.  "Kids will play with lingering, nagging heel pain, that upon testing, turns out to be a stress fracture that neither they, their parents nor coaches were aware of. By playing with pain, they aren't able to give their team 100% and make their injuries worse, which prolongs their time out of soccer."
Dr. Kaufman has actually had to show some parents the x-rays of their child's fracture so they will take them out of the game. "Stress fractures don't always show up on the initial x-ray, so convincing them can be difficult."
Some stress fractures include pain during every day activity, as well as when touching the area and swelling. Treatment typically includes rest and sometimes casting. There are some stress fractures however that heal poorly and will require surgery, such as a break in the long bone near the little toe, known as a Jones fracture.
The constant running in soccer can place excessive stress on the foot. Pain from overuse comes from inflammation, with is associated with the growth plate of the heel bone. "A child's growth plates in their feet are still growing until they are about 13 to 16. Rest, and sometimes immobilization of the foot will relieve the inflammation," says Dr. Kaufman.
Achilles tendonitis and heel pain are other types of overuse injuries children in soccer may complain of. Sudden ankle sprains are common in soccer as well. "Ankle sprains should be seen by a podiatric physician as soon as possible to assess the extent of the damage. If the ankle stays swollen for several days and you can't walk or stand on it, the ankle could be fractured," says Dr. Kaufman.
Collisions on the field between players can be difficult on their toes. "When you have two pairs of feet coming at the ball at the same time, that ball turns into a cement block and goes no where. Broken toes are often the outcome. The toes will swell up so much the player isn't able to get their shoe on or off. This is a sign to parents: don't let your child play while they can't get their shoe on!"

If your child plays soccer and has been experiencing pain, call our Newington, Kensington, or Middletown office to make an appointment.
Craig M. Kaufman, DPM
Connecticut Foot Care Centers
Sports Medicine Podiatrist in CT
Podiatrist in Newington
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