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Football is back, and for your kids or teens, that means excitement, enjoyment and enthusiasm. It can mean the same for you – but it can also mean the worry of injury to their feet and ankles like turf toe or nail trauma. Happily, it’s possible to minimize those risks by following a few simple tips.

Prepare your kids’ feet for football

Nobody would go into a football game barefoot – but if kids step onto the field in shoes that don’t fit, they could end up just as badly injured. Ask your podiatrist for professional advice on the right football shoes for them.

  • Never, ever skimp on your kids’ football shoes. Poorly fitting shoes are among the biggest causes of football-related foot injuries in young athletes. High-top cleats are a good idea, especially if your child is a lineman.
  • When they’re running on the field, your kids will need cushioning and support that can stand up to tough games. Synthetic cleats with rubber outsoles will repel water and reduce slipping, making twisted ankles less likely.
  • Use tape. Whether in a game or when practicing, help them take the time to tape their ankles.

A big part of any good athlete’s success is understanding their body and “listening” to what it’s telling them – and the same goes for your kids. Help your kids learn their capabilities and respect their limits.

  • Proper warm-up exercises are vital. Your kids should never go into a game or heavy training routine cold; instead, they can warm up with some light stretching exercises, and maybe add in a little jogging.
  • Kids hate to appear weak, so will often try to push through pain – but this can easily make a minor injury into a major one. Sure, they may feel like a hero on Friday – but by Saturday they could be facing a long layoff.