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Young Soccer Players And Foot Health

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In the fall, many children strap on their cleats and head to the soccer field. In general, soccer is a healthy activity for young people. As in any sport, accidents do happen, but your focus should be on prevention. Safety gear is important, but so is good health care. Foot issues are common, so you need to take care of your soccer player's feet. 

Proper Cleats

Soccer players frequently suffer from ingrown toenails, often caused by ill-fitting cleats. Players sometimes like their cleats to fit snugly because they feel they have better ball control when they do. However, too much pressure on the toe can force the toenail to grow into the skin, sometimes becoming infected. These toenails are painful and don't just affect soccer: they can make simply walking difficult. To prevent this problem, make certain that there is at least a finger's width of room between the big toe and the shoe's end. Remember that your child's foot will swell during a game, so this extra room is necessary. Since children's feet grow quickly, you may need to purchase a bigger pair during the soccer season. If an ingrown toenail becomes infected, they should visit a podiatrist.


You may want your child to wear two pairs of socks when playing soccer, both to cushion their feet and to accommodate their shin guards. For many players, wearing a regular pair of athletic socks next to their skin cushions the skin guard, which is then covered by  a soccer sock. This method has another advantage because it provides additional padding for the foot and can minimize the chance of blisters. Also, your child's foot is going to be stepped on frequently during the season, so extra socks help to prevent bruising. More padding also protects the toes from the impact of kicking. Remember to have your child wear two pairs of socks when trying on their cleats, however. Otherwise, their new soccer shoes will not fit properly. 

When your child is playing soccer, you need to keep a close eye on their feet. If they develop an ingrown toenail or badly-bruised feet, you need to have them examined by a podiatrist. The right shoes and shin guards will go far toward protecting them from injury, but a good soak in warm water after the game is also a good idea. They won't be able to perform on the field if their feet are not in top condition.