At this time of year, many sporting clubs are doing their sign-on for winter sports like football and soccer. As the heat of summer starts to abate, runners start to wind up their training for events such as the Gold Coast Marathon later in the year.
After many years of taking care of athletes, there are a few predictable patterns of problems we see over the next few months.
- Sever’s disease. Not really a disease at all, but a painful condition affecting the heel of young active children between the ages of about 9-12 that occurs as the heel bone (calcaneus) is maturing. It is commonly associated with soccer and football where very flat, low heeled footwear is common. Usually once we diagnose this problem, some simple treatment can get kds back to sports again.
- Stress fractures. These can occur in a variety of different bones of the foot and leg, and may occur where there are bone density issues (osteopaenia or osteoporosis), over-training, or hard surfaces and poor footwear. Sometimes they can be difficult to diagnose and are missed on simple x-rays, so more advances radiology investigations are necessary.
- Tendonitis. Tendons around the ankle, such as the Achilles, can be prone to overuse and damage, especially when there has been a rapid increase in usage in a short space of time. Mechanical and functional issues with the way the foot or leg is working (eg very pronated ‘rolled-in’ feet) can also contribute to these problems.
Our best tips to reduce the liklihood of these and other similar problems is to invest in some decent, supportive sports footwear, commence a general stretching and flexibility program (increasingly important as you get older), and don’t try and ‘run through’ the pain. Seek some expert podiatry advice before you do even more damage!
Author: Anthony Short