Prevention and treatment of foot and ankle in children who do martial arts.

Martial arts are a set of physical, mental and spiritual practices related to fight. Originally used to increase the chances of the warrior’s victory in battle, nowadays they are a form of individual improvement and comprehensive physical activity as well as of self-defense.
They help develop self-control, concentration and they improve the ability of self-defense. If a child shows interest in these disciplines, it is a good idea to support their passion.
Doing these disciplines may erroneously suggest the possibility for a child of developing excessive aggression, the ability to do harm or the risk of improper use of certain techniques. Actually, if the children turn to qualified and conscientious instructors, they will gain discipline, self-control and a great sense of respect for the opponents.

From a physiological point of view, the fact that these sports in almost all cases are played barefoot implies a big involvement of the foot and ankle. The body, in upright position, is never immobile: it swings like a pendulum due to the force of gravity, having as a fulcrum the foot and the ankle which, from a postural point of view, are a single complex entity that regulates this function. The secret of every martial art is to be able to keep the balance, both during the attack and defense phases. For this reason, these activities can improve and train the proprioceptive abilities of the body in an incomparable way, i.e. making sure that a movement necessary to restore the balance follows any feeling/sign of instability.
Developing a good proprioception also means being able to sense when a muscle fiber is about to tear and reacting accordingly not to make it happen. A “proprioceptively intelligent” or trained athlete will have a good sense of balance and will run a lower risk of muscle injuries.

Ibrahimovic, a great lover and expert of martial arts, is a concrete example of the good effects of these disciplines even when you play other sports, apparently less dangerous an­d aggressive.

So, dear moms, if your children ask for permission to wear a kimono and be little Samurais, do not discourage them: one day they will become very well-balanced men and women.