Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Foot Injuries In Cheerleading

Cheerleading today is a lot more competitive, gymnastic, and dangerous than it used to be, when coming up with the perfect cheer was the most difficult task faced. If you've ever watched a cheerleading competition, you can see the level of athleticism and skill it takes to be a successful, safe, and healthy cheerleader. 
However, all of those stunts can cause a multitude of foot and ankle injuries. In high school sports, cheerleading ranks second in injuries, after football. The National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research at the University of North Carolina says that 65.2% of all injuries in youth sports occur in cheerleading.
Unfortunately, many school districts still consider cheerleading an activity, and not a sport, and that means the type of insurance they carry to cover injuries sustained may not include cheerleading. 
Some foot and ankle injuries a cheerleader may experience are:
  • Ankle sprains and fractures
  • Various foot bone fractures (toes)
  • Heel fractures
  • Bruises
  • Stress fractures
  • Shin splints
  • Calf strains
  • Blisters
If you're a cheerleader, there are some things you can do to prevent injuries. First, when your team practices its most difficult moves, ensure that every member involved knows what they are doing. If you feel uncomfortable about the trick, tell your coach. If anyone is feeling tired, stop for the day. Accidents happen when people are exhausted and overworked.
Stay healthy by eating right and getting enough sleep. If you feel like you're not eating the right things to maintain your weight and energy levels, speak with a nutritionist.
The floor you're practicing on should have some give, like a sprung floor. Hard concrete floors should be avoided as injuries as they are unforgiving with all the pounding and jumping required for this sport.
If you find that your feet or ankles consistently hurt after practice, speak with a podiatrist about getting orthotics for your shoes, or switching to a different shoe for practice. You may need extra support in your shoes.
Remember: any foot or ankle pain is not normal and should not be ignored. Your body is trying to tell you that something is wrong. Pushing through the pain will not make it go away; the pain will only get worse and you will have to be out longer. Take care of problems immediately so you can get back to your love of cheerleading!
If you are a cheerleader with a foot or ankle problem, call our Rocky Hill or Middletown office to make an appointment.
Jeffrey S. Kahn, DPM
Connecticut Foot Care Centers
Sports Medicine Podiatrist in CT
Podiatrist in Rocky Hill and Middletown, CT
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