Ankle injuries are a common occurrence among children and adolescents, especially those who are active. Sprains, fractures, overuse injuries and even growth spurts can cause pain in the ankle that keeps your child on the sidelines.
Thankfully, rest, time, ice and the use of kids’ ankle braces are typically enough to the treat ankle injuries. The following are some of the more common ways and basics as to how they can be treated.
Kids’ Ankle Sprain
The ankle is the most commonly sprained joint in the body; sprains to the ankle are also the most common type of injury to the ankle. This occurs when the ankle is rolled, twisted or turned in an awkward way, overstretched or possibly the ligaments were torn in that vicinity.
In some cases, you may simply be able to “walk it off” or take it easy for a day and feel better. But in other cases, the damage is more serious and other modes of treatment outside of rest may need to be considered.
At-home treatment begins with resting the ankle, possibly including use of a kid’s ankle brace to protect the joint while it is more vulnerable and reduce stress on the ankle.
This youth ankle pain and sprain stabilizer brace provides lightweight support and protection to the ankle via figure-eight straps. A wide elastic compression strap around the ankle helps reduce inflammation and secures the laces of the child ankle brace. Flex mesh material at the tongue and Achilles area of the kid's ankle support makes it more comfortable and breathable.
Icing, compressing and elevating the ankle above the heart can also help reduce pain and swelling. Again, wearing a compressive ankle support for children can help with these steps. BraceAbility’s slip-on elastic foot wrap makes doing so a hassle-free process. This thin and inexpensive ankle brace for children fits easily inside a shoe. It is also free of latex.
Afterward, strength and flexibility exercises may be done to return the ankle to its pre-injury level of function. Return to athletic activity should be a gradual process. Again, wearing a pediatric ankle brace can increase confidence by adding support during this transitional period.
Overuse Ankle Injuries Such as Stress Fractures and Tendonitis
Activities that put repeated stress on a soft tissue or bone can lead to repetitive stress injuries, such as tendonitis of the ankle or the formation of a stress fracture. The latter is more common among older adolescents, especially those in sports that involve frequent jumping and running.
Ankle tendonitis refers to painful inflammation of the Achilles, posterior tibial or peroneal tendon. Prompt treatment is important to prevent additional damage.
Conservative modes of care might involve activity modification to avoid running, walking or jumping on hard or uneven surfaces and sticking to low-impact exercises like biking or swimming. Shoe inserts can also help with impact absorption.
Wearing a youth ankle brace can help stabilize the joint during activity. The neoprene athletic ankle compression wrap for sports is helpful to that end. Plus the compression that the child’s ankle support applies can reduce inflammation. The soft material of the pediatric ankle support is comfortable against the skin and it includes no irritating borders or edges. The small ankle brace also fits easily inside a shoe.
Regular stretching of the ankle and maintenance of a healthy weight can also reduce the risk of ankle tendonitis recurring.
Fractures of the Foot
As previously noted, a stress fracture is another possible repetitive use injury among children. These are more common among older adolescents, especially those involved in sports like basketball, gymnastics or soccer that involve a lot of running and jumping.
Stress fracture treatment centers around rest. A break from high-impact activities that stress the ankle is key to healing and preventing the small crack from advancing to a full-blown fracture. In some cases, a doctor may also recommend casting the ankle or using protective footwear such as a stiff-soled shoe or a short walking boot.
Children who do fracture a bone in the ankle often do so in the growth plate region. That is because this area of growing cartilage and bone is often weaker than other tissues in the vicinity, including the soft tissues like tendons and ligaments.
In such cases, treatment will likely involve reduction to set the bones in place or surgery as well as time spent in a cast and walking boot.
As your child gets back to physical activity, he or she may want to use an ankle brace for kids for added support. After a period of relative immobilization, the ankle is likely to be weaker and less stable. Physical therapy can also help with such shortfalls.
Sever’s disease is another possible source of ankle pain among children and adolescents. The pain caused by this condition is actually caused by growth spurts.
Specifically, the heel bone of kids with Sever’s disease grows faster than the soft tissues of one’s legs, stretching the tendons and muscles overly tight. Throw in a lot of running or jumping that further stress the soft tissues and a child can find him or herself in a world of hurt.
Rest and ice can help ease pain. Adding heel cups to your child’s shoes and/or making sure he or she is wearing supportive shoes is another essential component of Sever’s disease treatment. Stretching and strengthening exercises can also help prevent Sever’s pain from recurring.