An interested Mother and reader of our columns asked if children’s feet take a beating in sports. The bones, ligaments and tendons in children’s feet and ankles aren’t fully developed yet, and damage can occur when they are stressed from hours of sports participation.

The softer surface sports create less trauma to the joints, whereas the harder surfaces can take their toll. Nonetheless we see children who continue to play with early warning signs of pain, resulting in problems that may plague them into adulthood. Some of the most common areas where kids have pain include:

· Calcaneal Apophysitis—a heel growth plate inflammation due to muscle strain and repetitive stress.

· Achilles Tendonitis—the tendon connecting to the heel bone to the calf muscle gets inflamed.

· Plantar Fasciitis—if you’ve ever had this as an adult it is devastating. The band of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot from the heel to the toes becomes inflamed.

· Stress Fractures—from repeated stress on the bone there is a resultant hairline break. It is of the utmost importance to watch your children. If there is a limp when walking and any sign of pain, action must be taken for evaluation and treatment.

Always look for tell-tale sign, when children complain that their feet hurt. This can lead to foot, knee, hip and lower back issues in adulthood.

Robert F. Weiss is a podiatrist specializing in foot and ankle surgery. He was a member of the Medical Advisory Committee of the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Marathon Trials. Weiss is a veteran of 35 Marathons & has a practice in Darien, affiliated with Stamford Hospital and member of Stamford Health Medical Group-Foot & Ankle Institute, and resides in Westport. For info visit his Web site at www.stamfordhealthmedicalgroup.org