Common Foot Injuries in Children
Children’s injuries are in most cases related with sporting activity and associated with overuse. As young athletes are still growing, they are at greater risk of injury than adults are.
Overuse injuries can affect muscles, ligaments, tendons, bones, and growth plates. In children, these structures are still growing, and the growth is generally uneven. Bones grow first, which pulls at tight muscles and tendons.
Calcaneal Apophysitis (Sever’s Disease)
This is one of most common causes of heel pain in children between the ages of 8 and 14. It is an inflammatory condition of the growth plate (the growing part) in the heel bone. Running, jumping, and being active leads to repetitive stress on the growth plate as the foot strikes the ground. This results in inflammation, causing heel pain.
The condition occurs most commonly in children between the ages of 9 and 16. It is characterised by activity-related pain that occurs a few inches below the kneecap, or patella, at the front of the knee. This is one of the growth areas of the tibia or shin bone. The child will have swelling in the area, and tenderness to touch. They may have had a specific knee injury.
Strains and Sprains
Ankle sprains usually happen when there is a sudden movement or twist, and often when the foot rolls over. This can overstretch the ligaments, causing tears and bleeding around the ankle joint. These movements are more likely to happen when a person is running, jumping or quickly changing direction. They are common in court sports like netball and tennis. The ankle injury can vary in severity, and this will affect the treatment and recovery time. Get professional help if unable to weight bear on the injured ankle.
Many overuse injuries in children are preventable. The key to prevention is to give growing bodies’ adequate rest between training or games, and to seek professional help when necessary.