Do’s and Don’ts for Helping Your Child Gear Up for Fall Sports

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At Long Island Foot & Ankle Group, PC, we are hearing a lot of patients say, “I can’t believe the summer is almost over!” For younger patients, we know this means that fall sports with their rigorous practice and conditioning sessions will soon be starting up. Each year we see many children and teens in our Valley Stream (516-825-4070 ) and Lake Success (516-327-0074) offices in September with foot and ankle injuries such as Achilles tendonitis, sprains and twisting injuries and heel pain. Many of these conditions are a direct result of having jumped full speed into a strenuous sport program after having spent a relatively inactive summer. Helping your child gradually prepare for fall sports can prevent many podiatric issues. Below are some do’s and don’ts to assist you:

Do: begin to wean your child from screen time. If this summer your teen or child has spent a significant amount of time with a phone, pad or controller in their hands, you know that it limits the amount of physical activity they do. Going cold turkey is unrealistic. Instead, set an amount of time your child can have on a screen each day.

Do: make physical activity fun. Enjoy the last weeks of summer together with your child engaged in activities that have fitness benefits and are enjoyable: take walks or bike rides after dinner, go swimming, take a hike in a new park and try a new sport together.

Don’t: neglect warm-ups and stretches. Ask your child’s coach for suggestions for stretching and pre-season conditioning routines.

Don’t: forget to check the condition of your child’s sports shoes. If he or she will be participating in a new sport, it’s best to go to a professional sports shoe store and buy the appropriate shoes for the sport they will be doing. If your child is returning to a sport, examine their shoes for signs of wear (worn soles, stretched heel counters, etc.) and of course, make sure they still fit.

Do: ask one of our foot and ankle surgeons, Dr. Russell Caprioli, Dr. Mary Ann Bilotti, Dr. John Haight or Dr. Marzana Mleczko for suggestions about sports shoes if your child has had a previous foot or ankle injury. It’s a good idea to have the foot doctor check the old injury and make sure your child’s feet are game-ready. Contact us today to make an appointment.