High school sports are popular throughout the entire United States, of course, but we can be especially passionate about athletics in Texas. There’s a reason, after all, the hit book, movie and tv series Friday Night Lights was set in our state!
If you have a teen who participates in any of the sports offered in high school, you may sometimes worry about your him or her sustaining an injury. This isn’t entirely unfounded—whenever human bodies move, there’s at least a slight possibility an injury can happen—but there are so many benefits from participating in organized sports. In addition to improved physical conditioning, athletes learn how to work with others, see firsthand the value of hard work, and can form lifelong friendships.
We want you to focus on the benefits that high school sports have to offer, so let’s focus on how to prevent injuries from happening in the first place!
One common trend we see behind many sports injuries is simply that the patient was trying to do too much too soon. When your son or daughter joins a sports team at school, or starts working out to prepare for a new season, he or she will probably want to give the proverbial “110%” right from the start. Whereas this kind of enthusiasm is certainly admirable—and the coaches will love seeing it—your teen will need to give his or her body time to strengthen and adapt to new workouts and activities.
- Instead of “hitting the ground running,” have your son or daughter begin any workout program at low-to-moderate levels of intensity and duration. From there, it’s reasonable to gradually increase effort by around 10% per week. This is a good target for challenging the body, but without pushing it too far.
- If your son or daughter is joining a cross country or track team—and hasn’t already been performing any running training—have him or her start with a walk/run mix. 1 minute of light running followed by 4 minutes of walking, done on a repeated basis for the workout, will help develop endurance. After a week of this, the ratio can be increased to 2 minutes of light running for every 3 minutes of walk. Then 3 minutes running to 2 minutes walking, 4 minutes running to 1 minute walking, and finally straight running.
- Your teen needs to be sure to always warm-up and stretch properly before physical activity. Keep in mind that the body needs to be prepared for action, which means raising the heartrate a bit and loosening up muscles that will be used.
In addition to physical preparation, wearing the right equipment—especially with regard to footwear—will help keep your teen safe. With regards to shoes:
- Provide him or her with footwear appropriate for the activity. (Your son or daughter needs to run in running shoes, play basketball in basketball shoes, etc.)
- Make sure the shoes fit comfortably – not too tight, but not too loose. Shoes that are overly tight create an array of problems for feet. Loose footwear leads to blistering and doesn’t control foot motion nearly enough.
- Bring your teen with you when buying shoes. This ties in with the previous point, but it needs to be clarified because not all shoe sizes are the same. A size-10 for one brand might not fit as well as a size-10 ½ for another brand. Plus, one foot is usually larger than the other. Have your teen’s feet measured to determine which foot is larger, and then make sure shoes fit that one.
These are essential tips for injury prevention, but contact our office to find out even more. Keep in mind that it is virtually impossible to take all the risk out of physical activity, though. If your teen does sustain an injury, schedule an appointment with Richardson Podiatry Center. We are able to resolve many kinds of lower limb injuries without needing to resort to surgical intervention!
Call us today for more information by dialing (972) 690-5374 and one of our staff members will answer any questions or help schedule an appointment.