From birth, children grow at (what seems like) a rapid pace. Growth spurts seem to happen every few months and then, all of a sudden, your baby is a toddler, a grade school student, a teenager, and then they are off to college! Throughout all this, it seems hectic to keep track of their developmental stages and possible associated problems.
We want to give you a word of advice: Don’t ignore your children’s feet and ankles. You spend much time making sure other parts of the body are healthy, but oftentimes, feet and ankles can be ignored. However, as with all developing parts of the body, an issue that is not corrected early on can become a larger problem later in life.
To help you get a grip on your children’s feet, here are a few common foot problems you may want to be aware of:
- Deformities at birth: Clubfoot, in particular, is a deformity that can be identified right at birth. The foot is twisted out of shape or in the wrong position. Proper treatment, starting right after birth can correct the problem.
- Ingrown Toenails – Toenails should be cut properly (straight across, instead of rounded, and not too short) to prevent painful ingrown toenails that can get infected.
- Plantar Warts – Many play areas for children carry risk of contagious diseases, including bacteria, fungal, and viral infections. Bumps on the bottom of the feet with small brown dots in the center means warts. If they develop on parts of the feet that carry pressure (balls of the feet or heels), they can be painful. Ensure that your children keep up with good hygiene.
- Flat Feet / Pronation – Children are born with flat feet, but arches form as they begin to stand and walk. If arches do not form, your child may have flat feet. This may not be a problem unless the flat feet also cause pronation of the ankles (rolling inward). It can cause ankle pain and foot pain, affecting joints and surrounding tissue, especially if children are overweight. Orthotics can be helpful in giving arch support.
- Heel Pain – If your child is complaining of heel pain, there can be several possible causes. Improper alignment, plantar fasciitis (pain in the ligament along the bottom of the feet), or heel spurs (bony growths) can be the cause. Also common is Sever’s Disease, in which the growth plate at the back of the heel causes pain due to strain in the Achilles tendon. See one of our podiatrists to get the right treatment, depending on the issue.
- In-Toeing – If your children’s toes are facing inward, toward each other, rather than straight forward, your children are in-toeing or pigeon-toed. Children may be more susceptible to tripping and the abnormal development may cause pain in the ankles or knees later on. Orthotic may be helpful to correct the issue and give your child proper support.
Prevention is easier than correction. Remember that foot pain is not part of “growing pains,” so the longer you leave it be, the more of a problem it can cause. If your child is limping or complaining about foot pain, Make an appointment to come see us at The Podiatry Group. Our podiatrists, Dr. Mark E. Reiner, Dr. Michael A. Haughey, Dr. William G. Coates, and Dr. Erik D. Rosenlof can assess your feet and find the right treatment for your pain at our Jonesboro, AR office.