Soccer, though it generally has a low injury rate (compared to other high-impact sports), carries with it a risk of accidents including those that could lead to foot problems. Young soccer players are generally more at risk, especially since they are still developing their physical-motor skills and sense of balance. It pays to know how to recognize and address foot problems caused by soccer, in order to ensure the well-being of your child.
- Know how to prevent foot problems. It’s best that, before your child engages in soccer, he should have a high level of physical fitness to ensure that his body could withstand higher impact and strain. He should also make it a habit to perform warm-up exercises before playing, and he should wear soccer shoes that come with feet support, cushioning and shock absorption, and traction features. The ideal soccer shoe should also have the following: a flexible forefoot area, a wide sole that is also slightly curved, and adequate space for the toes.
- Recognize foot problems. The most common symptoms of a foot problem caused by soccer are pain, throbbing ankles, and swelling. These could happen when the player is running and his foot suddenly hits a bump on the playing field; when the player makes a sharp turn at the field; or when he twists his ankle while running. A severely-injured player may still be able to walk, but with great discomfort. He should know that when this happens, he should immediately rest on the bench before the injury grows in severity.
- Know of the different types of foot problems. There are many types of foot problems associated with soccer. One example is the turf toe, which is the upward twisting of the big toe. This is characterized by pain and swelling of the big toe, and treatment consists of pain relievers and rest. Another common foot problem is injury to the toenail, which may result to hematoma (formation of blood underneath the toenail). A treatment to this condition could involve the piercing of the toenail in order to drain the blood that has collected underneath it.
- Know how to treat foot problems. Again, rest is absolutely essential for the injured player. In fact, as much as possible he should stop playing for about one to two weeks after the injury, and then gradually reintroduce the sport after this time. The long-term solution will depend on the particular foot problem that is being dealt with. For example, chronic ankle sprain may be combated by strengthening exercises. Calluses that form over the bones may be treated by placing pads over the sole of the player’s shoes.
- Consult a sports doctor. This is to check for more serious internal injury. In some cases, for example, foot problems are symptoms of fractures; if this is the case, a cast may be necessary. The doctor should be the one to diagnose the exact nature of the injury and to give the proper treatment methods.
As the risk of injury comes with any sport, so is it important that you
be aware of the different types of injuries that could happen to your
child, as well as the ways in order to treat them. The most important
thing is to learn of some first aid basics, and to take him to a good
sports doctor whenever injury occurs. Good luck!