Winter Sport Shoes
Winter sports are starting to get underway and this generally means a change in footwear. We often think of rugby boots, but there are many types including football, hockey, skiing and snowboarding boots. As a general rule these types of footwear are like a flat board sitting on top of sprigs or on top of skis and snowboards. Taking away that slightly raised heel puts stresses on the lower leg, its joints and the arch of the foot. There is a trend to go this way in the running shoe business; they call it a zero degree shoe however, there is no research to indicate that this is an ideal position for the foot.
Children’s tendons and ligaments are stronger than their bones and stay this way until their late teens. This softness of the bone means it can easily become inflamed, painful and swollen in active children. This can also be related to growth spurts in the young body, as the bone goes through a growth phase this naturally makes the muscles and tendons become tighter, adding stress. Research shows there is a greater occurrence in boys than girls and there are two common conditions that present on a regular basis.
The point at which the Achilles tendon attaches to the heel becomes inflamed and the bone starts to break away. This is called Sever’s disease and is the second most common injury of this type. The most common condition is called Osgood Schlatter disease where the patella tendon pulls on the bony protrusion just above the shin, again causing inflammation, pain. In some cases the ligament is pulling so tightly on the bone, it almost starts to crumble.
Both of these conditions can be treated however, the best treatment is often complete rest. Not only is complete rest difficult to get your child to do it also goes against the whole purpose of playing sport. Therefore, you are better off to pay particular attention to the boots or footwear they are wearing. These may need some in sole orthotics to reduce the risk of these conditions ever happening. Not having the foot slightly raised at the heel places the lower leg under stress and the muscles which act like pulleys and levers can no longer work efficiently putting the leg at risk.
Because winter sport boots tend to be very tight fitting, care is also needed to select the right orthotic. It must fit comfortably giving support and cushioning that may not only lowers injury risk but may also improve performance. Other well-known preventions should also be applied such as stretching the calf muscles on a regular basis.
Preventing these conditions is important because no child wants to give up a game they enjoy playing.
If you have any questions drop in for a chat, call, or email Hibiscus Podiatry and we discuss all the options as want to ensure that children continue playing sport for as long as they want to.