Foot and Ankle Care for Children
There are plenty of things a parent might worry about when it comes to their child’s wellbeing—and yes, their foot and ankle health can be one of them.
Let’s clarify here, though. Your child’s foot and ankle health should not be something you have to panic over, but it should be something you are watchful of.
Children can have many of the same problems that adults get. For some conditions, such as ingrown toenails or plantar warts, they tend to be more likely to get them. On top of that, abnormalities can appear as your child’s feet and locomotion develop, and it is best not to ignore them.
In any of the cases above, detecting and addressing potential issues as early as possible typically makes them much easier to treat or monitor. Never hesitate to contact us if you ever find anything with your child’s feet that concerns you – we’ll be happy to provide advice or recommend an appointment, if needed!
Keeping Watch on Foot and Ankle Development
No one is born walking – although that would be quite a feat! It takes time for bodies to grow and musculoskeletal structures to develop enough to move effectively.
During that development time, however, it is possible to see certain abnormalities in the way your child’s feet look or the way that they walk. A few common examples include:
- Flat Feet – Typically, your child’s arch vanishes when they stand, but reappears when they stand on their toes or sit down. This is sometimes referred to as “flexible flatfoot” or “pediatric flatfoot.”
- In-Toeing or Out-Toeing – Your child walks with toes pointed inward or outward.
- Toe-walking – Your child spends extended time walking with heels raised, on their toes.
The good news with each of the above abnormalities is they are often not a cause for immediate concern. Most of the time, children exhibiting these conditions will grow out of them as their bodies continue to develop. That includes development of foot arches, which are often not present at birth and will often become more rigid around age 5 or 6.
However, just because the problem is often not an immediate concern does not mean it should be ignored.
Sometimes underlying factors mean a child will not grow out of these conditions, and we highly recommend check-ins over time to ensure your child’s feet are developing as they should. If we begin to see a problem emerging, we can address it as soon as possible and make sure it has little or no impact on your child as they mature.
Other Childhood Foot and Ankle Conditions
As we previously noted, there are plenty of things that can happen to adult feet that children’s feet are by no means immune to. We will always be happy to see your child for problems such as:
- Plantar Warts
- Ingrown Toenails
- Fungal Nail Infections
- Heel Pain
- Sports Injuries, including sprains and fractures
In many cases, these conditions happen the same way they do in adults. However, there can also be conditions that are more common in children—or even unique to them, such as Sever’s disease as a cause of heel pain in children around the ages of 8-14.
It is also worth noting that some problems that are frequently considered “old feet only” can develop in young feet as well. This includes bunions! If you suspect the early signs of a bunion or other foot deformity in your child, please come see us. Starting treatment now can stop the progression and very likely save a great deal of trouble in the future.
Help for Feet of All Ages
No matter how old you are, the sooner that foot and ankle problems are identified, the faster and more effectively they can be treated. For children, some simple steps now can make a big positive difference to comfort and mobility in adulthood.