The Sports Doctor: Overuse injuries similar for different sports

downloadSometimes I’m amazed at the similarities of not only the problems — foot, ankles, shins, knees and back that we see in young athletes — but with the pressures that are also common.

Just last week there were four 13- to 15-year-old kids with “overuse injuries” — all foot mechanics related. An ice dancer, and soccer, volleyball and tennis players. All are serious athletes, playing their sports daily and almost year round. The ice dancer has ankle tendonitis; the volleyball player has knee tendonitis; the soccer player has heel inflammation; and the tennis player has shin splints. The young athletes with their parents would have similar questions and concerns.

We’ve written in numerous articles about how foot type and mechanics can affect not only the feet themselves but all the areas above. I’ve also stressed the “overkill” of these schedules and demand on these young growing bodies. My famous, infamous “intelligent rest” recommendation is usually a tough sell.

Pressure to push and play through many of these persistent overuse injuries comes from numerous places, including coaches, parents, the athlete’s teammates and the athlete themselves. Helping to reduce many of these lower extremity problems that are persistent is the use of prescription orthotics along with physical therapy and strengthening and balance exercises. Hopefully, all four of these young hotshots will safely and quickly get to return to the sports they love. It’s true — all that changes is the uniform!

Let’s get some emails.

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    The Sports Doctor

    Born and raised in New York, I've practiced podiatry and sports medicine for over 30 years in the Aurora- Naperville area (almost BUT NOT QUITE LONG ENOUGH to lose my NY accent ). You can check that out for yourselves by listening to Sports Doctor Radio, on Join me live Wednesday's, 3-4 pm. CST. The Sports Doctor was formerly on WDCB 90.9 FM in Chicago for more than 20 years. The Sports Doctor is also read in newspaper columns including The Aurora Beacon News and the Naperville Sun. Also please 'like' my Facebook page, "Sports Doctor Radio" and follow me on Twitter @SportsDocRadio to keep in touch! Go to to hear many past shows and read my many articles. My specialty in sports medicine is orthotic therapy, combined with specific training and strengthening of the feet and ankles. I've been fortunate enough to have worked with some of the best athletes in all sports including many of the Super Bowl Bears back in the 80's, tennis greats John McEnroe and Tracy Austin, and numerous Cubs and White Sox. A true highlight of my career was watching Naperville's hometown figure skater Evan Lysacek, who I first saw as a nine-year-old and put orthotics in his skates, win the 2010 Olympic Gold Medal for men's figure skating with his orthotics (updated of course!) still in his boots. These high performance youngsters still remain my passion. Another big interest of mine is the challenge of our countries greatest epidemic: childhood obesity. Join me on Facebook and Twitter for updates on this important topic.

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