Many athletes, who play winter sports as well as spring sports, are at a higher risk for incurring a sports-related injury. These athletes and parents of athletes are encouraged, by the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, to play it safe and to take precautions to prevent foot and ankle injuries. These injuries can occur when going from indoor activities and sports to outdoor activities and sports.
There is a different set of concerns when athletes transition from the winter sports season to the spring season. Athletes are often moving from one playing surface to another and the varying impact can cause stress to the foot and ankle. In addition, transitioning from sport to sport can cause overuse injuries due to muscles and bones not having time to rest.
If you, or your child, plan to participate in spring sports or activities after participation through the winter, please consider these six tips. These tips will hopefully help prevent foot and/or ankle injuries:
1.Make sure to get a preseason checkup. This can help identify any concerns that might lead to injury.
2. Be sure to take it slow. Gradually increase practice time and don’t push too hard. Make sure the athlete’s feet and ankles become accustomed to the specific sport or activity. Conditioning is VERY important in order to stay injury free, and to improve performance.
3. Make sure shoes are appropriate and broken-in. Different sport require different gear. This includes shoes. Make sure they are well-fitting and broken-in. It is also important that they are designed for the specific sport or activity. This can improve performance and eliminate heel and toe discomfort.
4. Check technique. Be sure to notice changes in form and technique. This can signal that something is wrong. Pay close attention to favoring one side, or a limp.
5. Communicate openly about pain. Inform the coach if any pain or discomfort is experienced. This can help prevent overuse injuries that are often subtle and develop over time. The sooner an injury is detected, the sooner it can be resolved.
6. Don’t forget RICE. When a foot or ankle injury is noticed, it can often be resolved with REST, ICE, COMPRESSION, and ELEVATION. If pain occurs take a break and allow time for recovery. If pain and discomfort persists, give Blue Ridge Foot & Ankle Clinic a call!