Pediatric Foot and Ankle Sprains

Pinecca Patel, DPM

Pinecca Patel, DPM

by Pinecca Patel, DPM

Sprained ankles are one of the most common forms of injury in patients of all ages. But amongst active kids who want to keep playing their sport or doing their usual activities, sprains can be particularly stressful. It is important to understand what a sprain is, how to treat it, and how to strengthen the ankle to prevent further injury.

What is a sprain?

A sprain is caused when a ligament is stretched or torn. Ligaments provide stability to the joints in our body and an untreated sprain has the potential to create long-term instability in children as they grow.

What can you do when your child gets a sprained ankle?

Most parents will take an injured child to the ER or urgent care, but for best results and a quicker, safer return to activity, they should consider a visit to a foot and ankle specialist who is specifically trained to identify, assess and address these injuries.

Older methods of treating sprains, like ice and elevation, are not enough when you’re considering a return to sport. It’s important to build a treatment plan that keeps their future physical goals in mind. A treatment plan can include certain bracing during high-risk activities, injury-specific and sport-specific physical therapy protocols and education to ensure that no further injury happens.

Challenges with Pediatric Sprains

In very young children, there’s more flexibility in soft tissues, and sprains can also cause issues with growth plates, which are not always uniform in appearance on x-rays. Without proper treatment, these can lead to weaker ligaments as these children progress into adolescence and subsequent injury that can preclude long term participation in sports and/or impair performance.

A pediatric foot and ankle specialist can better diagnose and treat potential growth plate injuries in children, and they have the correct kid-sized treatment options on hand to ensure quick relief.

To schedule a visit with a pediatric foot and ankle specialist, you can visit Patients in Georgia can visit Dr. Patel at our Village Podiatry Newnan & Fayetteville locations by calling (770) 284-1357.