Common Pediatric Foot Problems
Children are often the joys in our lives, but what happens when that little bundle of joy develops pain and problems in the feet? It pains us to see our children in pain, but the solution might be as simple as seeing your friendly, neightborhood podiatrist! Foot problems in your child may appear at birth, shortly after, or once they have started walking. But when is the right time to call in a doctor to examine their feet?
If you notice any of the following conditions in your child, please call our office at (239) 936-2454 right away to schedule an appointment!
Pediatric Heel Pain
Heel pain in a child is a common children’s foot problem we see in our office. One of the first signs is that you may notice is your child limping or not wanting to walk on one of his/her feett. Pediatric heel pain is differs from adult heel pain in that the child’s foot is still growing, and as a result, is more flexible.
Your child’s heel pain may be due to an abnormality of the heel bone’s growth area. In these cases, the growth area of the heel bone becomes inflamed and pain worsens when your child tries to walk or participate in any activity. Other heel pain causes can include a fracture, bone tumor, bursitis (inflammation of the joint) or infection.
If you notice your child limping or complaining of heel/arch pain, you should have the child’s evaluated by a podiatrist as soon as possible.
In-toeing or Out-toeing in Children
Another common children’s foot problem we see is In-toeing, often referred to as walking pigeon-toed. Instead of the foot pointed straight-ahead, the foot turns inward. Sometimes in-toeing occurs with only one foot, or it may affect both feet. The child may limp, stumble or even trip and fall when running or walking. In-toeing may be due to a structural issue with the foot itself or it may be related to the leg or hips.
Out-toeing is the reverse of in-toeing, where the child’s foot points outward when they are walking. Again, this problem can affect one or both feet, and it can cause the child to stumble or even fall when running or walking.
Both in-toeing and out-toeing are considered structural problems and when these problems are caught early they are easy to correct. Most parents are able to spot in-toeing or out-toeing in their child, usually shortly after the child begins to walk. If you suspect this condition, you should bring your child in for an evaluation with our podiatrist.
Toe-Walking in Children
Another children’s foot problem that is seen in toddlers or even older children who are walking more on their toes or the front of the their foot, rather than putting their heel down on the ground. The child who toe-walks may appear to “bounce” as they walk.
This problem may be due to bone abnormality in the child’s foot or a neurologic issue, though most often it is due to the tendon at the back of the leg, called the Achilles tendon, being too short.
Most of the time, a tight Achilles tendon can be treated conservatively through shoe modification, orthotics, or a variety of ways, although in severe cases our podiatrists may do a small procedure to help lengthen the tendon.
Bunions in Children
A child with a painful bunion is also another common problem. Did you hear that right??? Yes, a child can have bunions! Some people mistakenly believe bunions is an “old person’s” problem, but the truth is that many children develop bunions. Often a child develops a bunion secondary to another, more significant, deformity of the foot.
Most of the time, bunions in children can be treated without any type of surgery. It is important for parents to bring in their child as soon as they see a bunion beginning to form. In some cases, surgery may be necessary and podiatrists may do a small out-patient surgery to correct the child’s bunion.
Flatfeet in Children (Over pronation in Children)
Flatfeet is called pes planus is another common children’s foot problem we treat at our office. In basic terms, a flatfoot is a foot that has a very low arch or no height to the arch. A child with a flatfoot may or may not have pain.
Flatfeet are related to the development of all kinds of foot, ankle and leg pain and problems. Your child may have difficulty walking or may complain of “tired” feet. Flatfeet are often due to excess pronation (or hyperpronation). Over pronation may cause the foot to flatten excessively, potentially causing foot pain, heel pain and even ankle, leg, knee or hip pain.
Fortunately, treating flatfeet is easy!! Often we make a simple arch support that molds to your child’s foot, called an orthotic. Orthotics are custom-made to your child’s foot and slip in your child’s shoes. Generally, the younger your child is when he or she begins wearing orthotics the better.
Ingrown Toenails in Children
Ingrown toenails and toenail problems are common in people of all ages and children are certainly no exception. An ingrown toenail can be painful and cause your child (or you!) to limp and avoid wearing closed-toe shoes. Our office provides treatment of painful ingrown toenails just about every day. In fact, a painful ingrown toenail is one of the most common foot problems our podiatrists treat in general.
Alleviating an ingrown toenail is easy and fast when it is addressed promptly. It is important that you do not ignore your child’s ingrown toenail as it can become infected and lead to other complications.
The list of children’s foot problems would not be complete without mentioning plantar warts. Plantar warts of the feet (or the foot) show up on the bottom of a child (or adult’s) foot, though warts can occur anywhere on the foot or even the toes.
Warts are due to a virus and they tend to affect children’s feet more commonly than adults. Plantar warts are easy to catch but they can spread rapidly—they are highly contagious. Even worse, plantar warts can be irritating or even painful. Some children or young adults have pain from the plantar wart when walking or standing.
Parents who notice a plantar wart on their child’s foot should see a podiatrist immediately, before the wart spreads. Most of the treatments for plantar warts are easy and painless.
If you notice any of these problems in your child, make an appointment to see our doctor right away! With locations in both Cape Coral and Fort Myers, making an appointment is a breeze! Call (239) 936-2454 today!