Children’s feet are different than adult’s feet in that they are growing, and often very quickly. Children’s feet are more mobile adapted, often they look flat, compared to adult’s feet even when they are not necessarily flat. Foot pain in a child is not normal. Often if children complain of foot pain, this goes away fairly quickly. However, if this pain does not go away in approximately three to four days, then further assistance should be sought in seeking to identify the problem.
A child’s foot is usually fully developed between 16 and 18 years of age. A child should visit a podiatrist when they are having continued foot pains or complaints and/or having difficulty walking or running, or not wanting to participate in certain activities. Some of the common conditions we see in children’s feet are ingrown toenails, warts, excessively flat feet, shin splints, and pain at the posterior aspect of the heels, or Sever’s disease.
SHOE SHOPPING FOR CHILDREN
Often when a child is very young, very simple flexible shoes are needed to encourage proper strengthening of the musculature within the child’s feet at a young age. As they develop and become more active with schooling, again the child needs a supportive shoe from the heel all the way up to the ball of the foot, something that flexes at the ball of the foot, but not in the middle of the shoe. This at times can be very difficult due to young patients with their desire to have shoes which are pressured by their peers, and part of the in-crowd. This is very important to take into consideration and try to come to some mutually agreed upon proper shoe you’re your child.
common conditions associated with children’s feet
Plantar warts are the more common condition we see with children. The symptoms of this are painful raised lesions, often on the plantar aspect, or bottom aspect of the child’s foot. We treat this condition with a variety of topical acids to this area. Often this condition takes anywhere from two to six weeks to treat. If the problem spreads it could linger for a prolonged period of time, and the longer you have them it’s more difficult to treat. Unfortunately, it can’t necessarily be prevented, but it is a virus, people can get this anyplace, anywhere, and any time. However, keeping your feet clean with the use of soap and water and dry can help prevent this problem.
Ingrown toenails are seen fairly regularly in young patients. The symptoms are pain, swelling, and redness at the distal edge or border of one of the toenails. We treat this condition by putting a patient under local anesthesia, and the offending border of this nail would be removed. If this condition is not treated a child could have increasingly increased pain, swelling, and discomfort causing a potential further infection to this problem. Prevention of ingrown toenails is encouraged by having toenails cut in the straight line. We also encourage parents to observe their children’s feet on a regular basis. But ingrown toenails can often happen due to patients wearing improper shoe gear, or shoe gear that is too short or not wide enough, and subsequently the excessive pressure leads to discomfort from this area. We encourage parents to review their children’s feet, and shoe sizes certainly every 4 to 6months if not sooner.
Sever’s disease is seen with very active young patients, boys and girls, but more often boys. The symptoms for this condition are pain at the posterior aspect of the heels. We treat this condition with a variety of anti-inflammatory medication, rest, proper shoe gear, and possible orthotics. If this is not treated, the patient will continue to have a discomfort in the area. The disease can’t necessarily be prevented, but it can monitored and treated with custom or prefabricated orthotics, stretching, icing, and certainly proper conditioning for the patient’s feet.
Flat feet are seen on a regular basis in our office. The symptoms for this condition are pain in the feet, ankles, lower legs, along with patient’s discomfort while trying to participate in athletic or other walking type activities. We treat this condition with educating the patients about proper shoe gear and orthotics. If the condition is not treated the patients could have worsening problems, increasing pain, swelling to the feet, the ankles and legs, along with the inability to much participate in athletic or other sporting activities. The condition cannot necessarily be prevented, but it can be evaluated on a regular basis, specifically when a patient begins to feel uncomfortable during walking activities. At times the patient may need some type of surgical intervention for this problem, if the condition is too severe.