What causes foot and leg injuries in kids?
Many factors can contribute to foot and leg injuries in kids, and often it’s a combination of these factors rather than a single main cause that leads to injury.
These factors include:
- individual biomechanics
- foot posture
- hereditary factors
- growth spurts
- age or stage of development
- footwear type and condition
- compatibility and nature of chosen sport
- exercise frequency and intensity
Human biomechanics, hereditary factors and foot posture is variable and its relationship to injury development is complex. The foot has important functions required for healthy movement and if these are compromised by rolling in, flattening arches, or high arches, it can predispose to injury.
Growth spurts can be especially troublesome for active bodies as bones grow much faster than muscles and tendons. As the bones grow the muscles become tight and pull on the bones. Growth plates and muscle junctions in growing bones are more susceptible to stress and therefore common sites of injury.
For many kids, even those less sporty, Summer holidays spent unsupported in thongs or going barefoot sees a spike in injuries on return to fitness activities and physical education at the start of the school year.
Seasonal sports with lengthy off-seasons are responsible for many foot and leg injuries in kids. Prolonged periods of reduced activity where the body becomes de-conditioned followed by a sudden return to seasonal sport can overload unprepared bodies.
Kids with several sporting commitments can breakdown with injury if there is inadequate recovery time between activities or if the physical demands exceed the body’s limitations. By taking shorter breaks followed by a structured return to activity (‘pre-season’) helps regain full strength and fitness and reduce risk of foot and leg injuries.
Effectively addressing injury prevention means looking at the whole picture.
If active kids in your life could benefit from knowing more about foot health and how to prevent and manage foot and leg injuries, please share this information. Together we can get this information to where it’s needed most and make a difference.
Stay tuned for part 4 of Foot & Leg Injuries in Kids – Injury Prevention & Management