We’re still riding high after the dramatic victory of the U.S. Women’s World Cup Team! These young women are great role models for fun, fitness and the importance of being good team players – and we’re sure their victory will drive interest in field sports like soccer for a long time to come, especially for kids.
But safety is also an important component to being a team player – and with all the running that soccer and similar field sports entails, we need to pay extra attention to little legs and feet, especially where cleats are concerned. Did you know that young kids who wear cleats are at considerable risk for foot and ankle injuries?
According to the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS):
- Wearing cleats can create added instability that can increase your child’s chances of ligament and tendon tears, as well as fractures. In fact, roughly 90% of all ankle sprains can be attributed to poor field conditions
- Wearing cleats for extended periods of time can result in a painful trauma to a child’s growth plate in the heel (also known as calcaneal apophysitis, or Sever’s disease), which can result in problems later if not treated quickly
- Foot and ankle injuries account for 16% of injuries in field sports, like football and soccer
- 10% of injuries seen in the emergency room are ankle sprains
ACFAS also cautions against the use of cleats by children under 10 – an all-purpose sports shoe is sufficient for most activities. Further, metal screw-on spikes – more rigid and even less forgiving on the foot and ankle than rubber cleats – should not be used until teenage years.
Work with your child’s coach or coaching staff to stay on the lookout for signs of injury – limping on and off the field, continued pain when walking, and any signs of swelling or redness. And, never encourage a child to “play through pain.”
This great infographic can help you know what to look for, and when it’s time to seek treatment. Pediatric sports injuries are serious business – so, keep your child having fun and in the game!
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