Ankle & Foot Injuries

At-risk sports

In most cases, it is not necessarily the nature of the sport that is dangerous, but the lack of safety measures that leads to injury. Some sports and activities with higher rates of injury do not traditionally use or enforce the use of safety equipment. Many physician visits are made each year due to injuries related to team and individual sports. However, you might be surprised at which sports were cited as the most dangerous.

According to the AAOS, the sports associated with a high risk of injury include:

  • Track
  • Football
  • Soccer
  • Hockey
  • Gymnastics

Sprain

According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, ankle sprains are one of the most common injuries in sports. Because the inner ankle is less stable, children's feet tend to turn inward after a tackle or collision on the field. Sports that involve a lot of running, jumping, physical contact and kicking pose the greatest risk for ankle injuries.

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The achilles tendon connects the heel to the lower leg. Injury is more likely when the calf muscles are tight, such as in football and running. Placing too much stress on the tendon created by the tightening of the calf muscle may cause it to strain or rupture.

Overuse injury

Long, vigorous training or improper technique can cause overuse injuries to your child's ankle. Stress fractures of the ankle and muscle/tendon strain can then develop.

Shin splints

Shin splints are an inflammation of the lining of the bone of the lower leg. According to the AAOS, improperly fitted shoes, overtraining and change of surface may place athletes at risk for shin splints.

Clubfoot

Clubfoot is an ankle disorder and describes a condition in which the feet of an infant are turned inward and under the leg. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons reports that one in every 1,000 babies has clubfoot, and 2 of 3 of those are boys. Clubfoot is genetically linked and twice as likely to occur if a parent or sibling has clubfoot. Treatment should begin immediately after diagnosis.

Treatment of pediatric foot and ankle injuries

  • According to the AAOS, casting alone corrects clubfoot 50% of the time.
  • Over a period of 6 to 12 weeks, a series of casts are used to slowly straighten the feet.
  • Special shoes or braces keep the foot straight once corrected.
  • In certain cases, your child may require surgery to correct the tendons.