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Overuse injuries in children

With so many kids involved in competitive school sporting events these days, it is not uncommon for parents to notice more foot, ankle and leg pains in their children.  These complaints could be due to an overuse injury, which can be aggravated by an increase in training frequency and intensity.

Overuse injuries can affect ligaments, muscles, tendons and growth plates (such as the one at the back of the heel bone).  There is usually an intense dull pain or an ache after the child has been training or playing sports, and/or stiffness at the start of activity.  We must remember that their body is still growing and developing. The conditions under which their body grows are very important.

Overuse injuries develop slowly and some may feel better after a few hours of rest, while others may suffer for days and experience some stiffness or pain every time they are active.  Some have found that sudden growth spurts in active kids can coincide with overuse type injuries.

Poor foot posture and development can also be either a causing or aggravating factor. Our podiatrists are trained to assess children with these concerns.

Here are some questions that we typically ask a parent and child:

o    Are they complaining of pain just after activity or at other times of the day?

o    Are they limping from the pain?

o    How long does the pain stay around for?

o    When did the pain start?

o    What shoes/boots are they wearing while playing sports?

We normally recommend immediate treatment in children if they are experiencing pain - before it stops them from participating in their favourite sport. We also advocate for preventative measures, and if your child's feet or walking style is causing you concern, we would highly recommend a podiatry assessment before they commence the sporting season.

Podiatrists can carry out a thorough assesment and provide appropriate treatment for children to reduce the severity of symptoms and address the underlying cause.