Children's feet often take a beating. The bones, ligaments and tendons in children's feet and ankles aren't fully develped yet, and damage can occur when the feet are stressed from hours of sports participation.
The softer surface sports create less trauma to the joints, whereas playing on harder surfaces can take its toll. Nonetheless, we see the children who continue to play with early warning signs of pain, resulting in problems that may plague them into adulthood.
Some of the most common areas where kids have pain include--
-Calcaneal Apophysitis: A heel growth plate inflammation due to muscle strain and repetitive stress.
-Achilles Tendonitis: The tendon connecting to the heel bone to the calf muscle gets inflammed.
-Plantar Fasciitis: If you've ever had this as an adult, it is devastating. The band of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot from the heel to the toes becomes inflamed.
-Stress fractures: There is a resultant hairline break from repeated stress on the bone. It is of the utmost importance to watch your children. If there is a limp when walking and any sign of pain, action must be taken for evaluation and treatment.
Dr. Robert Weiss, a sports podiatrist, is a Fairfield-native and was a member of the Medical Advisory Committee of the 1984 and the 1988 Olympic Trials. Weiss has a practice in Darien. For information, visit his Web site at www.therunningdoctor.net.