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By Dr. Nicole G. Freels | January 30, 2014.
KyForward columnist
 

Sports are a large part of growing up and there is a high risk of active kids injuring their feet. Because of this, it’s important for parents to know the warning signs and what to watch out for when it comes to their children’s foot health.
 

Common injuries and symptoms
 
Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children reports that the most common injuries they see include ankle sprains from lack of support, chronic heel pain from overuse and inflammation in the heel bone, tendonitis and stress fractures.
 
To prevent injuries such as these for your children, it’s important to follow the following recommendations:
 
1) Watch for warning signs – Pain and swelling are often the easiest clues to spot. If your child is cautious to bear weight on a certain area or showing you parts of their ankles or feet that are swollen, the best home remedies include rest, ice and elevation.
 
If they complain of numbness, tingling or can’t move their limb properly, there may be a serious injury and you should make an appointment with a podiatrist.
 
2) Purchase sport-specific shoes – The American Podiatric Medical Association states that one of the easiest ways to prevent foot injuries while playing sports is to make sure that your child has shoes that are made specifically for the sport that he or she is playing. Due to the different movements each sport requires, the support and structure of their respective shoes can make a huge difference in comfort, stability and performance.
 
Running, for example, should be done in shoes that have good shock absorption, control, flexibility and room for orthotics (if they are needed). Custom or semi-custom inserts are wonderful for runners and the heel pain that often comes with the sport.
 
3) Make sure each pair of shoes fit properly – The ultimate key to the best foot health in children is to make sure their shoes fit correctly. While many parents who have multiple children often make use of hand-me-downs, it’s important to make sure that the shoes you’re giving your younger child aren’t too small.
 
Allowing enough room for the width of one finger between the big toe and the shoe is the rule of thumb (no pun intended).
 
We know that when it comes to our kids, health and safety are top priorities. Because of this, Lexington Podiatry is offering a free exam on Feb. 18 to all children. By securing an appointment today, you’ll be taking the first steps to improving the comfort of your children. Call 859-264-1141 for your child’s free exam and gait analysis.

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