Is It Soccer or Is It Growth Spurt Related?
My oldest child, now in 7th grade, has had soccer related injuries that plagued her season after season. Two years ago, she had issues with her ankles. After missing weeks of soccer, we made the doctor rounds. Pediatric orthopedic surgeon — a brilliant doctor at Mass General Hospital — had fixed my son’s 3 broken bones in his arm near critical growth plates. He healed up perfectly. Our doctor used x-rays and MRI but found nothing out of the ordinary. Could be tight hamstrings, he thought.
We went to a foot doctor next. $600 inserts were custom made for her. These didn’t seem to make much difference either. Her ankles would still roll, causing sprains. Finally, at wits end, I asked my soccer coach friend. She gave us a cloth ankle brace — designed to support the ankle but letting the player move her foot in all the ways necessary for playing soccer. Still, she said the brace is to prevent injury but the ankle needs strengthening as well.
She gave us a rubber stretchy band and demonstrated how to trace the alphabet with your toe WHILE reading a book. This multi-tasking is helpful for student athletes!
I thought we were in the clear but then last summer, my daughter’s knee started bothering her. This time she was at sleep away camp and wasn’t able to do active sports. I had no idea because most of her correspondence merely requested items or more money in her account.
Fellow soccer parents offered up advice.
“Growth spurt,” they asked?
Oh yes! She shot up 3 or 4 inches.
Sometimes the ligaments have trouble catching up to the bone growth they advised. A Nurse Practitioner Mom Friend suggest a Neoprene knee brace. Another parent suggest gel heel inserts. We tried both.
It worked. She was able to play most of the season except for a week when she had …
Lower back pains.
Cause? Locker issues forced her to carry heavy textbooks all day. She thinks her 30 lb. backpack was the root cause. We tried ice. We tried rest. We tried stretching. It all seemed to help.
And so, now that soccer season is nearing the end, she is finally completely healthy.
The moral of the story? Keep trying. If I were to do it over, I would have sought a pediatric sports orthopedic specialist. Now, I have a name for the future.
As a parent with an injured child, I found that word of mouth advice to be very helpful. It doesn’t hurt that many of our neighbors are doctors or medical practitioners themselves. Parents who have kids with a similar injury also know the drill.
Once you know the problem, the next step is rehab. Ours was simple enough. More basic stretching. Since my daughter has such tight lower body muscles, she finds this painful. I had to get her to do yoga with an instructor. The stretchy band exercises for her ankle are also important and it’s easy for your kid to forget once she’s feeling better.
If you are in New York, there are wonderful facilities for pediatric orthopedic specialists. The Hospital for Special Surgery
is a world leader in orthopedics, rheumatology and rehabilitation. It recently opened the CA Technologies Rehabilitation Center at the Children’s Pavilion providing comprehensive, individualized rehabilitation for both inpatients and outpatients from birth to 21 years. Its multidisciplinary staff includes physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech-language pathologists. You can also find them on Facebook.
I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Hospital for Special Surgery. A small donation to a charity of my choice was made in my name as a thank you for participating. You should consult with your physician or other health care provider before beginning any rehabilitation/therapy, sports training, or exercise program.