Don’t Forget to Warm Up and Cool Down
Warming up the muscles and joints for 5-10 minutes with some light cardio (slow jogging, for example) or “active” stretches (but no bouncing!) will help prepare them for activity. Jumping straight into full-intensity play without a short but effective warm-up can often lead to injury.
Once play is over, it’s time to cool down. This is where your child can do some “static” stretches, and even just walk for a few minutes. A short cool-down and gradual reduction in heart rate and body temperature can help prevent post-activity pain and cramping, and even feelings of nausea.
Insist on Open Communication (and Keep Your Eyes Open)
One thing that’s unfortunately true about many youth athletes: they don’t always want to communicate with parents or coaches if they’re feeling sick, tired, or in pain. They may be worried that they’ll be seen as weak, or be forced to sit out and let down their teammates.
The problem is that many severe sports injuries develop over time and can begin with minor, subtle symptoms—and “playing through the pain” will usually only make things worse.
Talk with your kids upfront and make sure they know to talk to both their coaches and you any time they notice pain or discomfort. And when you are watching your child play, keep an eye out for any signs that they might be hurting more than they let on—for example, limping, withdrawing from activity, a perceived “lack of effort” on the field, etc.
Follow Up on Foot and Ankle Sports Injuries
If an injury does occur to your child’s feet or ankles and it’s affecting their ability to feel and play their best, make sure you have them evaluated by one of the specialists at Waco Foot & Ankle as soon as possible.
While going to the doctor is no child’s idea of a good time, acting quickly to address sports injuries right away helps keep them safe from even more severe injuries further down the road, and helps them get back to full speed as soon as possible. It may even help them save their season.
Our award-winning physicians specialize in treating athletes of all ages and ability levels. Don’t hesitate to call our office and schedule a visit today for you and your child.