The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS) recently advised parents and coaches that increased participation in outdoor sports during the summer may increase the number of foot and ankle injuries, especially among children who play field sports.

See the full-sized infographic 

According to a press release from ACFAS, ankle sprains account for 10% of all injuries seen in emergency departments. Therefore, it recommends that parents and coaches educate themselves on the signs of foot and ankle injury, and to seek treatment early if an injury does happen.

Among the most popular summer sports are flag football, lacrosse, field hockey, soccer, baseball, and softball. These sports, the release notes, require players to wear rubber-molded cleats and, in some cases, metal screw-on spikes.

“Children under the age of 10 are at special risk for sports injuries, especially when cleats are involved,” says Timothy Swartz, DPM, FACFAS, a Maryland-based foot and ankle surgeon and Fellow Member of ACFAS, in the release.

“Aside from creating imbalances that could result in ankle sprains, continuous running in a cleated shoe can injure and inflame the growth plate in the heel, causing a painful condition called Calcaneal Apophysitis, which can be extremely slow to heal and, in extreme cases, may require surgical intervention,” he explains.

Overuse injuries such as stress fractures are also a major risk factor for younger athletes whose bones are still growing, according to the release. Therefore, ACFAS advises parents and coaches to also be alert to a child limping on and off the field, and to never encourage children to play through pain. Symptoms of common sports injuries include pain during normal activity, swelling, bruising and, in more serious cases, tissue tears.

Per the release, ACFAS has created an infographic to provide additional information and facts about what parents should know regarding pediatric foot and cleat injuries.

[Source(s): American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, PR Newswire]