When we think about children’s health, we often forget about their feet. They are brand new, after all, and don’t even start racking up miles for a good amount of time!
But here’s something you should know:
Young feet are far from problem-free. They grow fast; and as they do, the risks of developing many of the same problems of adult feet can certainly arise. That’s why it’s important to keep track of the ways those feet are developing, and catch concerning symptoms at their earliest stages before they turn into bigger problems.
At Precision Foot and Ankle, we understand your concern for your children’s growth and consider pediatric foot care an important part of our practice! And Dr. Tenenboym is here to deliver the gentle and compassionate care your child needs and deserves so they can continue to be active and grow into adulthood with a strong, confident stride.
Some Common Pediatric Foot Conditions
Keep in mind that some conditions are present from birth, like clubfoot. Congenital foot conditions like these should be taken care of as soon as possible to prevent them from causing other problems in the feet and further up the kinetic chain as your child’s body develops throughout childhood.
However, other conditions can present themselves while your child is still young, and may eventually go away over time. Flat feet is a great example of this. Children usually don’t develop arches in their feet until about age 5, but it’s important that you still address the issue if your child complains of foot pain or discomfort.
Still, many conditions will not go away on their own, so it’s important to receive professional help from a board-certified podiatrist. Dr. Tenenboym loves working with children and helping them stay active. In fact, he is experienced in treating most – if not all – pediatric foot conditions your child may experience, including:
- Clubfoot. When the feet turn in and downward, as if to resemble a club. This condition needs to be treated while the child is young, as it will cause issues with walking and mobility as the child grows.
- Growing pains. Pain in the legs that is described as “throbbing” can sometimes be attributed to growing pains. These often occur in children who are extremely active, because the stresses of growing and tissue and bone re-building along with physical exercise can be demanding in the legs and feet.
- In-toeing and out-toeing. Both conditions are common in young children and cause physical deformities, but are usually not painful. When the leg bone (the tibia) tilts inward, the condition is called in-toeing. When the tibia tilts outward, the result is out-toeing. In many cases, the conditions will straighten out and improve as the child grows and learns to walk. Strengthening and stretching exercises can help to improve these conditions.
- Sever’s disease. This is not actually a disease, but a foot condition that causes pain and inflammation in the growth plate that is located in the heel. Children who are growing and physically active are usually the victims of this foot pain.
- Plantar warts. Warts are typical in children, teens, and those who have weakened immune systems. These painful skin lesions are stubborn and hard to remove. Many times, professional treatment is the only way to get rid of them.
- Ingrown toenails. Ingrown toenails are common in children due to tight-fitting shoes, a common occurrence as many children don’t have properly sized shoes due to growth spurts. In this condition, the toenail irritates the skin surrounding the nail and grows into it.
There is something to always keep in mind, though: children often fail to tell parents when there’s something wrong with their feet. Maybe they are afraid of having to go to the doctor, they are afraid that they will no longer be able to participate in favorite activities, or they simply don’t recognize that there is, in fact, something amiss.
So, as parents, it’s important that we pay attention to our children’s feet and learn to recognize behaviors that may indicate your child is experiencing difficulties in their lower limbs. (Which takes us to our next point…)
Watching Your Children’s Step
We know – it’s definitely an exciting time when your baby grows up and learns to walk. But you might also start to see some behaviors you didn’t quite expect!
Your child’s arches may look flat as they stand, and reappear when they sit down or stand on their toes. They might also walk around on their toes for extended periods of time. Or their toes might point inward or outward as they walk.
Other behaviors to look for include:
- Hiding their feet.
- Excessive tripping or falling.
- No longer wanting to participate in favorite activities.
- Complaints of foot and ankle pain.
Some of these quirks are often part of a child’s development and learning to walk, but in some cases they can be a sign of an underlying problem. The best route to take if you see something out of the ordinary in your child’s arches or walking gait is to give our office a call right away.
We can track your child’s feet periodically as they grow to make sure there are no abnormalities at play and that they are growing out of any peculiarities. If a problem does show signs of becoming permanent, we can take action as soon as possible to mitigate it, often through the use of custom orthotics and physical therapy, to make sure it doesn’t cause any pain or additional problems.
Help for Pediatric Foot Problems
The bottom line is kids can be complicated – we don’t have to tell you that.
When it comes to their foot and ankle care, however, we can provide you peace of mind and treatments that work! Whether it’s warts, heel pain, or other problems, call Precision Foot and Ankle at (727) 399-7167 to schedule an appointment today. You can also reach us through our online contact form.