Some children are born with foot deformities, some develop injuries due to improper shoes, and some become injured while being active. Just like adults, there are many issues kids can have with their feet. But especially in children, it's important to watch closely for foot problems so normal development can continue. At Shenandoah Podiatry, we are committed to ensuring your child has access to the care they need for a lifetime of healthy feet.
Common Foot Issues Children Face
Here's a look at the most common foot issues children face:
- Flat feet. While flat feet are normal in babies and toddlers because their arches haven't grown yet, it may be time to visit a doctor if your child is six or older and still has flat feet. Flat feet can cause pain but are often painless, so the child doesn't think anything is wrong. Treatment for this issue usually only involves orthotics.
- Heel pain. Children are tough and often won't complain about pain in their feet. But if you see your child limping when they run or walking oddly, it's probably best to have them checked out. In children, treatment for heel pain may range from anti-inflammatory medicine to daily stretches.
- In-toeing or out-toeing. When your child first learns to walk, their feet will naturally point inward or outward. But as your child gets older, you may notice a strange gait when they run or uneven wear on their shoes. In-toeing or out-toeing is sometimes a result of a skeletal or neurological disorder. Schedule an appointment if you notice your child's feet pointing in or out.
- Ingrown toenails. Especially common in children who wear tight shoes for sports, ingrown toenails can be especially painful. When the toes are constricted, the toenail sometimes doesn't have a chance to grow properly. Symptoms include pain and redness around the affected toenail.
- Plantar warts. When Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) enters the skin through a small cut, a wart may form. This virus thrives in warm, damp places, so these warts most often develop in children who are often in a locker room with other children. A plantar wart looks like a small bumpy growth and is usually found on the soles of the feet.
Most children's foot issues can be corrected without surgery—through orthotics, exercises or stretches, or a simple in-office procedure. The notion of having a potential foot issue that requires surgery can be scary, and that's why we use surgery as a last resort for any of our patients.
How to Make Sure Your Child Has Healthy Feet
As with adults, proper foot care is important for children. But since children are often unable to take the proper precautions on their own, it falls on the parent or caregiver to make sure they have the healthiest feet possible. Here are some tips to make sure your child's feet stay healthy:
- While it's tempting to try to get the most use possible out of a pair of shoes, check often to make sure your child is wearing the appropriate size. Depending on their age, you may have to buy new shoes two or three times a year.
- When they are just learning to walk, let children go without shoes as much as possible. Shoes on a baby can inhibit proper growth.
- For children who play sports, warming up and stretching before and after is critical to ensuring no long-term issues develop.
- Ensure their feet are cleaned every day and that their nails stay trimmed.
Shenandoah Podiatry Can Help Your Child Get the Foot Treatment They Need
At Shenandoah Podiatry, we have plenty of experience with issues of the feet, both in children and adults. We've learned that for children, early diagnosis is even more important. A minor problem that can be treated with something as small as an insert could lead to something that requires surgery as an adult if it's left untreated.
We know that a visit to the doctor can be anxiety-inducing for anyone, and that's why Shenandoah Podiatry strives to have an atmosphere where all of our patients feel relaxed. If you want to address an issue in your child's feet, call our office at 540-904-1458 today to set up your appointment. You can also use our convenient online contact form, and we'll be in touch as soon as we can.