Children and adults alike are at a higher risk of injuring their feet or ankles if they do not take preventative measures. Especially when taking part in intense activity like sports, dancing, or playing on the playground, children with weak feet or ankles can incur an injury.
Even if your children won’t necessarily take part in these types of activities, it’s better safe than sorry, especially because you never know when they may trip or fall from uneven grounds. Because they are still growing and their bones and tissues are still developing, an injury can cause issues with proper development. Injuries to the growth plate can result in complex procedures to fix the problem.
The following are some flexibility exercises that you and your children can do to lower risk of injury:
- First and foremost, conditioning is important to ensure that your children are able to safely participate. Cardio and strength training are helpful in activities where they are required to use strength and/or run.
- Many Achilles issues can cause ankle issues. The best way to strengthen and stretch the tendon is to do calf stretches. Put your foot up against a stable object (like a wall or couch) with the heel on the ground. Then lean forward to feel the stretch. Do a few reps to get a good stretch.
- Make circles with your feet at the ankle to increase flexibility in all directions of the ankles. This can be done as a game or while watching TV.
- To protect toes, do some exercises with them. Straighten and curl the toes. You can add some challenge to the exercise by picking up and moving a marble or towel from one side to the other.
- Some other stretching exercises like yoga and ballet can help children learn proper ways to become more flexible and light on their feet.
Don’t forget to use proper foot and ankle wear and protective gear. Wearing shoes that are appropriate for activities can help prevent injury. For example, cleats are important to prevent slipping in grass or turf, while hiking shoes help stabilize and protect on uneven hiking trail terrain. Furthermore, your child should stretch and warm up before sports and other vigorous activity.
Did your child experience an injury while playing sports? Need more information about increasing flexibility? Come see our board-certified podiatrist, Dr. Brandon Macy. Make an appointment today to have their feet assessed and treated with care. We are located in Clark, NJ and serve patients in all of Union County! We keep you walking!