Why your young athlete’s feet hurt. And (more importantly) what to do about it.

Over 25 million children participate in school-sponsored sports and an additional 20 million participate in extracurricular organized sports. Over the past decade, increased intensity of training, more pressure for success, new opportunities for structured play, and more organized advanced leagues and traveling teams have led to a corresponding increase in overuse injuries in the skeletally immature athlete.

Young athletes fit a slightly different profile. Sport related injuries are possible at any age, though preteen and early teen athletes are particularly vulnerable, especially to vigorous, repetitive movement, because of the way their bodies mature. Their injuries tend to be caused by chronic overuse related to over training in their sports. More than three quarters of the youth players seeking treatment at a medical facility have been damaged by doing too much too fast, often when they were too young. Increasingly, youngsters are specializing in one sport and playing it year round. However, young athletes can also be injured by playing different sports that repeatedly produce stress on the same parts of their body.