Identifying and treating foot common foot problems in children is not always straightforward. Children can experience a variety of conditions as they grow and mature, caused by growth spurts, learning to walk, or other superficial factors.
There are a variety of common foot problems in children seen by chiropodists regularly. How do you know if your child will outgrow the foot condition? When is it an indicator of a larger problem? How do you treat children’s feet problems? McQuistan Chiropody in Hamilton has your answers about common foot problems in children.
Ingrown toenails are one of the most common foot problems in children. They can cause pain and get infected easily, as children or teenagers likely won’t recognize right away that there is a problem and will only complain once the pain is more severe.
Ingrown toenails are commonly caused by tight fitting shoes as children experience growth spurts. Shoes become too small very quickly and don’t give the toes and toenails enough space to grow naturally and comfortably. Always ensuring your child has properly-fitting shoes is the best way to prevent this from developing.
Plantar warts are another common foot problem in children. This is thought to be because children’s immunity systems are not strong enough yet to repel the wart virus. Once they are exposed, they can easily become infected.
In addition, the plantar wart virus is spread in places accessed by children – gyms, pools, play areas, jungle gyms, and anywhere else that children are encouraged to have bare feet. These can often be treated with home remedies, although if infected or pervasive, a chiropodist should be seen.
Flat feet in children is a little bit more difficult to diagnose. They can be caused by natural orthopedic development and the child may grow out of it within a few months or years. Typically, flat feet in children are nothing to worry about.
If the child is complaining about foot pain, having difficulty walking, or only has one flat foot, treatment options should be explored. Orthotics are the most common treatment for flat feet in children and can also be used if there is pronation (a turning of the foot to compensate for a flat foot). However, in many cases, flat feet will disappear on its own as the child’s foot continues to develop.
Plantar fasciitis causing heel pain is most common among adolescents aged 8-14, caused primarily by the feet rolling in and straining the arch of the foot. It is also related to flat feet.
Another condition causing heel pain is Sever’s disease. Sever’s disease causes pain along the growth plate at the back of the heel and strain on the Achilles tendon (attached to the back of the heel). The tendon and calf muscles tighten in growth spurts which puts stress on the heel bone and causes this heel pain in children.
Typically, once a growth spurt is over and the muscles and tendons have a sufficient chance to grow, Sever’s disease will go away on its own. However, orthotics or shoe inserts for children can be used if the pain is severe.
How do I Prevent these Conditions?
Some conditions are hereditary and therefore are not possible to prevent. However, to reduce the development and progression of common foot conditions, always ensure your child is wearing properly-fitting footwear. As they go through growth spurts, ensure they aren’t wearing old footwear that is too small and doesn’t provide enough room for the feet to grow comfortably.
When to See a Chiropodist
If many of these conditions go away on their own without treatment, when should you see a chiropodist about your child’s feet?
- If lumps or bumps are evident on the feet
- If shoe wear is uneven
- If your child is complaining about feet or leg pain
- If your children is tripping or falling excessively
- If visible skin or toenail problems are present
If you notice any of these symptoms, contact McQuistan Chiropody. We can diagnose any foot conditions your child is suffering from and can prescribe any necessary treatment options, like orthotics or shoe inserts for children. Contact us today.