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Fall is in the air. We’re not talking about leaves changing color or temps getting a little cooler. We mean the sounds of cheering as you support and encourage your kids at South Coast League football and field hockey games or soccer and water polo matches. SoCal has a wide range of sports year ‘round, but it seems there is never a shortage of sports injuries that need treatment in our office in the fall. Heel pain from sports is fairly common, but there are things you can do to deal with it and even head it off.

Some of the most common injuries your son or daughter may come home with are:

  • Achilles tendon problems – the heel cord is damaged or ruptured, causing pain at the back of the heel and ankle.
  • Fractured calcaneus – the heel bone takes so much punishment from impact sports that it can develop hairline cracks or break completely.
  • Plantar fascia injuries – the supportive ligament under the foot is damaged, causing sharp pain under the heel.
  • Tarsal tunnel syndrome – nerves along the outside of the ankle are pressured by the bone or soft tissue around them, affecting the heel and arch of the foot.
  • Bursitis – an inflamed fluid sac leads to discomfort under or behind the heel.
  • Sever’s disease – stress on the growth plate of the calcaneus brings on pain in the heels.

Two things are crucial: first, you need to find out exactly what is causing your child’s pain. Second, you need to treat the underlying cause, not just the symptoms. Otherwise the problem could return as soon as your child begins playing sports again.

Sometimes remedies are simple: resting from activity, icing, changing to different footwear, wearing shoe inserts, or stretching the calf and foot muscles. More serious injuries may need adaptive equipment, physical therapy, or surgery to heal completely.

The best way to prevent problems in the first place is to make sure your child warms up and stretches properly before and after practice and games. He or she should also wear shoes for the sport that fit well and give support where it is needed. Old shoes that cause aching feet should be replaced.

Call Southern California Foot & Ankle Specialists in Ladera Ranch, CA at (949) 364-9255 (WALK) for expert diagnosis and treatment, so your child can get back in the game and you can start cheering again.