Youth Soccer Players During a GamePlaying solo or team sports can set children on a path of lifelong health and wellness. Unfortunately, because their bodies are still growing and developing, their feet, ankles, and lower legs are particularly vulnerable to sports injuries. Here's what you should know about podiatric sports injuries in pediatric patients, including how the highly-skilled children's feet specialists at Shenandoah Podiatry can help your kids get better, get back in the game, and learn how to prevent similar injuries in the future.

Common Podiatric Sports Injuries in Children

Children are susceptible to wide-ranging sports injuries. Here are just a few of the pediatric sports injuries we routinely address at our Roanoke podiatry practice:

  • Strains and sprains. A sprain is an injury to the ligaments, the strong bands of tissue that connect bones to bones within a joint, while a strain is an injury to a muscle or the tendons, tough bands of tissue that connect muscles to bones. Strains and sprains can cause pain, swelling, tenderness, restricted range of motion, and other symptoms.
  • Stress fractures. A common overuse injury among kids who play sports that involve repetitive stress-bearing movements, stress fractures are tiny cracks in the bone that tend to develop over a long period of time. Symptoms include pain and swelling during and after activities.
  • Broken bones. Unlike stress fractures, which develop over time due to repetitive stress, traditional breaks are usually the result of a traumatic injury. A broken foot or ankle bone can cause swelling, bruising, difficulty walking, and throbbing pain that worsens with activity and improves with rest. These injuries require prompt and continuing podiatric care to avoid growth plate issues and ensure proper healing and foot development.
  • Sever's disease. A common source of heel pain and stiffness in kids, Sever's disease is caused by an inflammation of the growth plate in the heel.
  • Turf toe. Essentially a sprained toe, this injury is frequent among young athletes who play martial arts and field sports like soccer. Symptoms include pain at the base of the first toe, swelling, stiffness, bruising, and limited range of motion.
  • Gait or structural abnormalities. Differences in your child's feet, such as flat feet, or the way they walk or run, like in-toeing or out-toeing, can make them more vulnerable to various overuse injuries.
  • Ingrown toenails. When the edges of a toenail grow into the soft surrounding flesh, it can lead to irritation or infection. In some cases, the problem can happen again and again.
  • Athlete's foot or fungal toenail infections. Caused by the same type of fungus, tinea pedis, these conditions can be irritating, unsightly, and persistent. Our podiatrists will work to help your child stop the athlete's foot-fungal nail cycle. Ask about our laser treatment for fungal toenails.

Treatment Options for Pediatric Sports Injuries

Our knowledgeable and experienced podiatrists offer a wide range of treatments for our pediatric patients. During the course of care, we may recommend options such as:

  • R.I.C.E. (Rest, ice, compression, and elevation)
  • Immobilizing the affected foot or ankle with a cast or boot
  • Over-the-counter or prescription medications to relieve pain and swelling
  • Custom orthotics inserts or insoles to provide targeted cushioning and support
  • Advanced options like fungal nail laser, shockwave (EPAT or ESWT), and more
  • Surgery—but only as a last resort

Recovery and Prevention

Shenandoah Podiatry is dedicated to helping your children recover and return to activity, but our work doesn't stop just because they're back in the game. We're focused on providing patients with the information they need to prevent a recurrence or other injuries. Our doctors can recommend stretching and strengthening exercises, footwear options, and other changes to help keep your active child's feet and ankles healthy.

Schedule an Appointment

Shenandoah Podiatry provides world-class podiatric care for children's sports injuries. Complete the contact form or call 540-904-1458 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Jennifer Keller, Dr. Natalie Allen, or Dr. Marissa Icardi. Same-day appointments are available for urgent conditions; call now to find out how we can assist you.