Coaches and parents expect a lot from middle- and high-school athletes nowadays. And those young athletes expect a lot out of themselves, too! Success in pre-college athletics can open many doors later on, but that success doesn't mean much if your young athlete has chronic pain or even a severe sports injury that can take them out of the game.
We are passionate about keeping your kids in the game and focused on the sports they love without any pain or long-lasting adverse effects on their foot health.
Proper Footwear Eliminates the Risk of Long-Term Damage
Wearing well-fitted and properly supportive shoes is crucial to the health of your feet and even more crucial to the health of young feet. Children's feet are still growing until they reach about 14 to 16 years of age, so rechecking their shoe size and purchasing new shoes for them regularly can ensure a perfect or near-perfect fit.
It's also essential to provide your child with the correct shoe style for their particular sport. Baseball, softball, football, and soccer require shoes with cleats, while basketball and track require shoes with optimal support in the heel and ankle. Hockey or ice-skating require skates, while gymnastics and tumbling require the athlete to be barefoot. Consult your family podiatrist and your child's coaching staff to ensure the proper fit and style.
We can also outfit your child with custom foot orthotics to not only ensure their feet grow in the correct way but also prevent heel pain and ankle instability later on in life. Orthotics are often covered by your insurance and can do wonders for a child (or adult) with foot issues.
Learn More: How to Pick a Good Shoe
Stretching Exercises for Young Athletes
We know, we know; your kids' coaches are real sticklers about stretching before practice and games. But are they stretching their lower limbs properly? Proper stretching before strenuous activity can help with recovery, eliminate the risk of pulled muscles or tendons, and enhance the athlete's endurance to play their very best.
Learn More: 3 Stretches to Prevent and Cure Heel Pain
Don't Play Hurt
We get it; you want to teach your kids to endure, push through struggles, and overcome adversity. We love that! But we don't love seeing young athletes pushing themselves to play through an injury. We especially don't love seeing them in our office with severe sports injuries like stress fractures, pulled muscles, and even torn tendons. Pushing through an injury can do excessive long-term damage, especially where the feet are concerned. Your child's health comes first, above any sport or game. If you notice them slowing down, complaining of pain or discomfort, or anything else out of the ordinary, check in with them. Younger kids may conceal injuries, so it's important to pay attention to those nonverbal cues that tell us there is something wrong.
Don't Let Your Young Athlete Over-Do It
One of the most complex parts of being a parent is telling your child "no." But you are responsible for setting them up for a successful future, and sometimes telling them "no" is the best way to do that. Kids get excited about sports. Being a part of a team makes them feel important, and learning new skills makes them feel accomplished; that being said, if your child desires to dual-sport, you need to be careful. Playing multiple sports in a given season can put too much strain on their growing bodies. Additionally, this can put mental and emotional stress on your child as they work to balance school, sports, other extracurriculars, and social life. Let your kids be kids!
Set Your Child Up For Success: Visit Mid-Michigan's Leading Pediatric Podiatrist
Finding a doctor you can trust with your child's health isn't easy. You want to make sure they are not only a competent physician but also someone who knows the right way to communicate with children and make the stressful, sometimes frightening process of visiting a doctor's office a little less scary. At Freeland Foot and Ankle, we are more than just a podiatrist and his team of medical assistants. We are compassionate, understanding, patient, and very good at what we do. Is your young athlete experiencing pain or discomfort? Do you want to avoid the pain in the first place? Give us a call or use our online contact form to schedule an appointment today and help that young athlete stay in the game and excel in their favorite sports.