The end of fall and the beginning of winter marks many changes for kids who play sports. Many are coming off of the field (soccer or football) and begin more court activities such as basketball. Many children who are multiple sport athletes are now experiencing increased pain to their feet. This is typically known as overuse injuries. Overuse injuries in sports are deﬁned as chronic injuries related to constant repetitive stress without adequate recovery time from their events. The cause is due to increased stress to the normal tissue without adequate time to recover. Injuries can occur in 3 ways.
Athletes who increase their activity quickly without the proper training can experience pain and other sports injuries. Overuse injuries can also occur in children who do not have the proper mechanics or skills for playing their particular sport. They have not learned the correct skills, or their coordination is not up to level at this time. And finally, overuse injuries can occur in athletes who do not provide their body with the proper amount of rest from their activity. Many children are hesitant to take a break as they feel they will not be allotted the same amount of playing time as their peers if they do not practice as hard or as often.
Overuse injuries in children can be seen at the insertion of a tendon to a bone, which is known as apophysitis. This is typically seen at the heel bone or the knee area. This occurs at the articular cartilage, and causes a bone and cartilage injury. This injury can also occur along the growing bone itself, which can appear as a stress fracture.
There are many ways to treat these overuse injuries which range from downtime from the sport to orthotic support in shoes to control abnormal forces and allow for proper biomechanis. If your child complains of chronic foot pain before, during or after their sporting event, please do not hesitate to contact us at Worthington Foot & Ankle. We would be happy to help get your child back to their favorite sport.