You encourage your children to participate in sports because you want them to benefit from the social opportunities, exercise, and structure of an organized athletic activity. Whether your child is just starting out in preschool soccer or developing into a competitive athlete as a teen, it's important to be aware of foot and ankle issues that might arise. In many cases, the sooner a potential problem is identified or an injury is treated, the more likely it is that your child will be able to stay active for many years to come.
At Yavapai Foot and Ankle Center, we treat our youngest patients with the same care and concern that we do our adult patients. We welcome young athletes to our practice to get them off on the right foot!
Common Foot and Ankle Injuries and Issues in Young Athletes
It's important for parents and coaches to be aware of the kinds of foot and ankle injuries active children and teens face. Prompt diagnosis and appropriate treatment can help minimize pain, prevent long-term complications, and allow young athletes to continue enjoying their sports activities safely. Common injuries and conditions we see in our young patients include the following.
Ankle sprains are one of the most common sports injuries among children and teens. They occur when the ligaments surrounding the ankle are stretched or torn due to sudden twisting or rolling of the foot. Symptoms include pain, swelling, and difficulty bearing weight on the affected foot.
This condition affects the growth plate in the heel and is common in children and adolescents involved in sports. It causes heel pain, especially during activities that involve running or jumping and is often associated with rapid growth during puberty.
Overuse of the Achilles tendon, which connects the calf muscles to the heel bone, can lead to tendonitis. Symptoms include pain and swelling in the back of the heel and may worsen with physical activity.
Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot. It can cause heel pain, especially during activities like running, and is often related to overuse and improper footwear.
Stress fractures are tiny cracks in the bones of the foot or ankle, often caused by repetitive impact activities like running or jumping. They can result in localized pain and swelling and require rest and proper medical attention. Stress fractures in the metatarsal bones of the mid-foot are particularly common in young athletes.
Turf toe is a sprain of the big toe joint that occurs when the toe is hyperextended, commonly during sports played on artificial turf. It can lead to pain, swelling, and limited range of motion in the affected joint.
Ankle impingement can occur when repeated stress on the ankle joint leads to soft tissue or bony structures becoming pinched during movement. It results in pain and limited range of motion in the ankle.
A Jones fracture is a specific type of metatarsal fracture that occurs near the base of the fifth metatarsal. It can happen when a runner or field athlete jumps or changes direction quickly and twists the foot or ankle the wrong way. It often requires casting, immobilization, or surgery to heal properly.
How Our Podiatrists Treat Youth Athletes in Prescott
We have seen the difference early detection and treatment can make in the life of a young athlete. We encourage parents to come to us right away with their questions and concerns so that we can catch small problems before they become big ones.
In our Prescott office, we have all of the diagnostic tools we need to quickly assess your child and develop a treatment plan. We always start with the most conservative measures first—including rest and active monitoring of the condition—before we suggest more invasive treatments, such as casting or surgery. You can count on us to do what's best for your child while minimizing the time they have to be on the bench.