As a family-friendly podiatric practice, we focus on children’s foot and ankle care as much as we do adults. Parents should know that it is just as important to take proper care of young feet as it is for those that have seen much more “mileage.” In fact, identifying and treating potential problems early can have a huge positive impact on comfort and mobility in the future.
Below are some common foot and ankle conditions that may need to be addressed as a child grows and develops.
Developmental Foot and Ankle Conditions
Children grow quickly—we surely don’t have to tell you that! During this time, parents might observe abnormalities in the shape of their child’s feet or the way they walk. Some examples include:
- Pediatric flatfoot. A child’s arches will tend to disappear while standing but reappear when they sit or rise onto their toes.
- In-toeing and out-toeing. A child’s feet point inward or outward. Sometimes, this may cause further complications such as tripping.
- Toe-walking. A child spends extended time on their tiptoes and often tries to walk this way.
If you see cases such as these, you should not panic—but you should not ignore them, either. In most cases, children eventually grow out of these abnormalities. Sometimes, however, they may persist or be a sign of a problem that requires professional assistance.
It is always best to contact us if you see any sort of abnormality in walking, especially if it may be a source of pain. We can monitor your child’s development with periodic check-ups and provide treatment as early as possible, if necessary.
Heel Pain in Children
Children can develop heel pain at about any age, but it tends to be especially prevalent in active kids around 8-14 years of age.
A common culprit is Sever’s disease (aka calcaneal apophysitis), which is caused by the growth plate along the heel bone being aggravated by repetitive impacts and tension from the Achilles tendon. This condition is often treated with rest and conservative measures.
Plantar fasciitis can also be a source of heel pain in children, just as it is for many adults. This form of pain is more present along the bottom of the heel after periods of activity and especially after periods of rest.
Achilles tendinitis and stress fractures are also among the possible causes of heel pain, in addition to other common causes.
Since a child might sometimes hide symptoms of pain out of worry or fear, it is important to be watchful of signs such as limping or a reluctance to participate in activities that were once enjoyable. It is also important not to push activity levels beyond reasonable limits and to have any possible sports injuries addressed as promptly as possible.
Other Common Children’s Foot Problems
As pediatric podiatry specialists, we also see and treat conditions such as:
- Ingrown toenails. Children can be at higher risk of ingrown toenails due to toes becoming cramped as their feet outgrow their shoes. Many cases can be treated at home, but recurring cases and any with signs of infection should be seen professionally.
- Plantar warts. Children can be more prone to contracting plantar warts than adults. Warts are usually harmless but can be embarrassing and long-lasting, taking months or years to go away on their own. Recommended treatment for plantar warts may vary depending on whether they are causing pain or other symptoms.
- Juvenile bunions. Although often thought to be solely an adult condition, some children are genetically predisposed to develop bunions earlier in life. Addressing this condition in its earliest stages can help prevent it from progressing into a worse condition in adulthood.
Comprehensive and Compassionate Foot Care for Your Kids
Freeland Foot & Ankle Clinic is committed to treating children’s foot and ankle conditions of all types and sees early treatment as a means of preventing worse issues later in life.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you suspect any problems or simply have questions about your family’s foot and ankle health. Give us a call at (989) 695-6788 or contact us online to schedule your appointment today.