Encouraging your children to participate in sports is proven to have lasting effects on both their physical and mental health. Beyond health, studies show that high school athletes exhibit improved stress management, team-building, and academic benchmark. The foundations of fitness cemented into the habits and routines of teenagers and adolescents are likely to last a lifetime.
If your child or teenager shows an interest in participating in school athletic teams or clubs, setting them up for success (just like you do in every other facet of their lives) starts with the feet!
Forgetting the Foot
The feet are wildly overlooked by athletes young and old. If it's not black and blue and swollen, athletes have a tendency to take their feet for granted. This is especially true for teenage athletes who are less likely to complain even if there is a problem. But our feet are necessary and exceedingly more complex than we realize. We need them to run, jump, and swim. We even use our feet to set up for a pitch or a shot-put throw, to squat down in a hockey goal, and to move a soccer ball across the field. And as far as complexity is concerned, our feet have 33 joints, 26 bones, 19 muscles, and 107 ligaments. This complexity can lead to issues such as heel pain, Achilles tendinitis, and even toenail issues like fungus or ingrown nails. Teens and adolescents are more likely to acquire issues related to their growing feet, like Sever's disease.
3 Things You Can Do Right Now To Help
Invest in proper footwear. We understand that kids grow fast, and their feet grow even faster! That being said, investing in your aspiring athlete's shoes, cleats, or spikes now will save you hundreds of dollars and a great deal of pain later on. Additionally, measuring your child's feet to ensure a proper fit is also vital to the overall health of their feet.
Teach them good habits. Stretching before a game, staying hydrated, and knowing their limits are all ways to avoid common sports injuries. A good coach will instill these habits in their team; it's your job as the parents of a young athlete to motivate them to stay consistent.
Have them evaluated by a professional. It may seem unnecessary to take your child to a podiatrist when they don't have active issues, but student-athletes often experience gait issues, Sever's disease, and other common pediatric foot issues. These issues may not be a problem now, but odds are they will be in the future. Bringing your young athlete in now will help prevent the issues from becoming severe later on!
Resources For Raising Young Athletes
We seek to offer as much helpful information as possible. Putting the tools to set your aspiring athlete up for success at your fingertips is just one of the many ways Freeland Foot and Ankle Clinic strives to create successful young athletes, whether or not they are seeking a college or professional sports career later on.
Let's face it, being the parent of a high school athlete can be full of stress and worry. But with the articles, blogs, and FAQs available here on freelandfoot.com, you can rest easy knowing you have the tools to prevent sports injuries from cutting your young athlete's season short. If you have a middle school or high school athlete, give us a call and make them an appointment today! Set them up for a smooth season free of pain and injuries by letting our dedicated pediatric podiatrist and experienced team evaluate their gait, shoes, and more! Give us a call (or text us!) at 989-695-6788, or fill out our handy contact form.