With back to school right around the corner, parents everywhere are geared up for a busy year. You're getting prepared by buying school supplies, picking up new clothes or uniforms, and dealing with about a million other things. As always, Freeland Foot and Ankle is looking for any opportunity to ease some of that stress. Feet and foot health? That's our department. So let's get you started off right this school year with three of the most common foot and ankle conditions that affect kids and teens. Knowing what to watch for will only give you more of an opportunity to avoid the issues in the first place.
#1: Plantar Warts
Kids are more likely to develop plantar warts. This is because warts are caused by a virus, and children lack the antibodies to properly fight it. Contracting platar warts can be painful, embarassing, and long-lasting. Often, when one child develops them, they tend to spread to other children and even adults in the household. Traditionally, we think of cryotherapy, or freezing, as the only option for treatment. But the truth is, this is not the most effective treatment option. Here's how we attack the issue and get rid of your child's warts:
- Option one: destruction of the lesion. By using a chemical agent to destroy the wart tissue and hinder the spread of the virus, we can eradicate plantar warts in as little as three visits.
- Option two: Swift wart treatment. Swift is an advanced technology that harnesses the body's own immune responses to attack the virus at the source. This treatment is virtually painless. There are no bandages, no post-treatment pain, and the appointments for the treatment are fast and easy.
It's extremely crucial that you don't attempt any "bathroom surgeries" to get rid of warts. Trying to cut away or dig out the wart tissue can lead to very serious infections, and it won't actually get rid of the virus. We recommend coming in at the first sign of an issue.
#2: Ingrown Toenails
Because their feet grown so quickly, they can start to fill out their new shoes in no time. Cramming their feet into ill-fitting shoes can cause rubbing of the toenails, especially the big toes. This will quickly lead to painful ingrown nails. You can avoid this issue in the first place by regularly measuring your child's feet, having their feet and shoes examined by a podiatrist, and cutting their toenails correctly and often. Ingrowns happen though, so here's how we'll treat the issue when it occurs:
- Alleviate the symptoms at home. Soaking the foot in warm water for 15 to 20 minutes a few times a day, applying antibiotic ointment and a bandage, and sticking to open-toed shoes while the nail heals can help to get rid of the ingrown.
- Surgical treatment in the office. In some cases, a pediatric podiatrist might remove a portion of the affected nail or the entire nail to provide relief. If the issue is recurring, an addional treatment can be performed to halt any new nail growth and avoid the problem altogether
- Non-invasive ingrown toenail treatment. For children, particularly those who are scared of needles, we can utilize a state-of-the-art advanced treatment method called Onyfix. Onyfix utilizes a composit material, formed into a custom-shaped band fitted over the patient's nail, which will encourage the nail to grow out correctly. Think of it like a traffic cone redirecting cars to drive the right way. The Onyfix band redirects the nail growth to ensure it doesn't grow back ingrown. This involves no needles, no numbing, and no blood. Like we said, perfect for kiddos!
Ingrown nails can get out of control fast. If you notice swelling, redness, pus, or bleeding, we encourage you to call us right away. We know it's tough to get in to see a pediatrician, and sometimes your child can't wait the weeks or even months it might take for an appointment with their normal doctor. That's why we don't require a referral (unless your insurance carrier requires one).
#3: Heel Pain and Developmental Concerns
During this period of their lives when children are growing rapidly, there are a few things parents should be on the lookout for. This includes flatfoot, in-toeing or out-toeing, and toe-walking. These issues can usually be solved with easy treatments and changes to their shoes or inserts. While children often grow out of these abnormalities, sometimes the issues may persist and that can indicate a deeper problem. Don't hesitate to call us and bring your child in for a consult.
When it comes to heel pain in children, the most common culprit is Sever's disease. This condition occurs when the growth plate along the heel bone does not grow at the same rate as the Achilles tendon. This causes tautness of that tendon, and usually a great deal of pain. Plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendinitis are among other common sources of pain and discomfort in young feet. Because children may hide symptoms or be unable to verbalize their discomfort, it is essential that you watch for the signs:
- Complaints of sore feet
- Not participating in games or play the same way they used to
- Being unable to keep up with their peers
- Lack of interest in sports they once enjoyed
Are you the parent of a young athlete? Check out our brand new resource for all things student-athlete. From shoe recommendations to free evaluations, all of this and more can be found on our young athletes' tab on our website. Check it out!
Mid-Michigan's #1 Rated Pediatric Podiatrist
We understand that taking your child to the doctor can be a stress-filled event. Kids are often scared of the doctor's office, or maybe a busy schedule makes it hard to get them in for a visit. We are the solution to those concerns. Our compassionate and understanding approach to treating pediatric patients allows us to put you and your child at ease as we help to get them back on their feet. Additionally, our friendly scheduling team will work with you to find an appointment that fits into your busy day. Don't wait for the problem to get worse. Contact us by phone, text, or online form today to schedule an appointment and start the year off right with healthy feet and peace of mind.