Recovering well from a sports injury is vital to getting back into action. Ask any professional athlete who has had their career on the line following some painful misfortune.
Your child might still have a way to go before becoming a pro, of course, but that doesn’t mean their care is any less important.
Whether you are in the big leagues, aiming to get there, or simply someone who plays for fun, everyone needs and deserves treatment that gets them back to full activity as soon as possible—all without risking re-injury and chronic pain in the future.
But yes, we know there is a temptation in all this—especially when a high school sports season is involved.
What’s the Risk of “Walking it Off”?
We get it. We really do.
There are only so many games in a season, and only so long that the experiences of high school sports will last. After all, you can always be a Chief, Warrior, or other team at heart, but there are only so many years you can play as one of them.
So when there’s a wrong step or a bit of a blowout during training, there can be a major temptation to try and ignore it. Your child might try to pass it off as nothing or hide it entirely. Or they might tell you and you might think, “Well, they’re young. They should heal quickly, right? And the next game is so soon! What could be the harm?”
There are a few potential harms, however.
Whenever our body is in pain, it is a sign that something is wrong—and that, usually, we should stop whatever we are doing that is causing the pain. It’s the old “hand on the stove” analogy, right?
When you continue to perform the same activities that caused the pain, you are very much risking causing yourself further injury. For example, if your student player is complaining of pain above the heel from potential Achilles tendinitis, that means their Achilles tendon has likely been overstretched and developed small tears. Continuing to work that tendon without proper treatment can only make those tiny tears worse, which means extended healing time and a big risk of much worse tears or even a full-on rupture—and then there’s definitely not going to be any sports for some time!
Aggravating an existing injury does not always have immediate effects, either. A sports injury must heal properly and with as few hurdles as possible to help limit the potential of long-term problems.
A frequent area of concern is ankle sprains. Many are mild and don’t tend to be much concern, but that does not mean you should be playing on them!
Ankle sprains that fail to heal properly can permanently weaken the long-term stability of the ankle. This can affect performance on the field or court, and it can also increase the chances of a sprain happening again. And again.
The more ankle sprains that stack up over time, the more likely there will be chronic pain in the ankle. This can lead to major changes and, in some cases the need for surgery.
So What Should You Do About an Injury?
We don’t want to see anybody missing out on doing the things they love. But when it comes to sports injuries, you don’t want to sacrifice chronic pain and problems just to stay in play for a few weeks. We have seen patients who made that choice in the past and regret it now.
Do not ignore signs of injury, and do not wait to bring them to our attention. We will do everything in our power in terms of treatment to get your child back in action as quickly as possible—but we will not risk their long-term foot and ankle health in doing so.
Even better than having to deal with a sports injury in the first place is not experiencing one at all. Make all the right choices involving proper footwear, ensuring your child warms up, and following good technique to reduce the chances of injuries due to overuse. We’d be happy to perform a check-up to identify any potential problem areas your child might have and address them before they can cause any real trouble.
Expert Foot and Ankle Care for All Ages and Activities
If you or your child has suffered sports injury to the foot or ankle, we want to provide the same expert care we have provided all our patients. The sooner a problem is identified and the right treatment starts, the faster someone can recover and the stronger they will be when they do.
From stress fractures and plantar fasciitis to Achilles problems and more, we will get to the root of the problem and deliver the best recommendations for treatment depending on your individual goals and needs.