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Do foot-related sports injuries affect children differently than adults?

Aaron Nelson , NASM Elite Trainer
Sports Medicine Specialist

It is very important to make sure children with foot related sports injuries are properly evaluated by a qualified health care professional such as the athletic trainer who is onsite at the sporting event. If there is any concern with the evaluation, the child should be immediately referred to a physician for proper diagnosis. With acute foot injuries such as fractures, it is important to make sure the injury hasn't occurred around or near the growth plate and that the fracture is set in place to give it the best chance to heal. Soft tissue injuries can be similar to adults, but the muscles and tendons will not be as developed as well as that of an adult and may be damaged more easily. The best thing to do if you see any swelling or deformity is to immediate seek the attention of a physician.

Injuries to children may not be much different, but it is important to make sure a child's growing body heals properly. Children can be at a higher risk for foot related sports injuries because they are more likely to be on sports teams that demand a lot of activity. Children are most likely to get injuries from overuse because many play a sport for the entire year or take up a different sport for every season without a chance to rest. In addition, children on more advanced teams, such as traveling leagues, are at an increased risk of overuse injuries because of the extended time spent practicing, training, and playing.

Sports injuries to the foot can be seen in different patterns in children compared to adults. This is often related to the growing bone present in the child’s foot, which is referred to as the "growth plate." During certain stages of development, the growth plate can be susceptible to both acute and overuse injury. For example, children between the ages of 9 and 13 can be susceptible to activity-related pain in the growth plate of the heel, known as Sever’s disease.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.