Parents and coaches should think twice before coaxing young, injury-prone soccer players to “play through” foot and ankle pain, according to the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons.
“Skeletally immature kids, starting and stopping and moving side to side on cleats that are little more than moccasins with spikes–-that’s a recipe for foot and ankle sprains and worse,” cautions Christopher Hendrix, DPM, FACFAS, a Memphis, Tenn. foot and ankle surgeon.
“Kids will play with lingering, nagging heel pain that, upon testing, turns out to be a stress fracture that neither they, their parents nor their coaches were aware of,” he said. “By playing with pain, they can’t give their team 100 percent and make their injuries worse, which prolongs their time out of soccer.”
Hendrix said he has actually had to show parents x-rays of fractures before they’ll take their kids out of the game. “And stress fractures can be subtle–-they don’t always show up on initial x-rays.”