Should I Be Worried About My Child’s Foot Health?
There are a lot of things parents worry about when it comes to their children, and foot health isn’t always at the top of their list. But should parents be vigilant when it comes to their child’s feet?
Foot conditions and abnormalities occur in children as well as adults, so it’s important for parents to be aware of the common issues for your child’s growing feet:
- Pediatric Flatfoot: Flat feet are not just a problem for adults who neglected to wear proper footwear, it can occur in children too. Children can develop either flexible flatfoot, which is when the arch collapses when they are bearing their body weight on their feet, or rigid flatfoot, which occurs when the arches stay flat and can cause pain. But it’s important to note that children do have flat feet until around the age of 3 when they begin developing their arch.
- Intoeing: Otherwise known as “pigeon-toed,” occurs when your child’s feet point inward instead of straight. This can be caused by different parts of the leg where bones have twisted inward. Out-toeing can also occur, which is when feet point outward instead of inward.
- Growing Pains: Your child’s growth can cause pain, especially if they’re active and participates in sports. Sever’s disease is a common condition which results in inflammation and pain from the heel’s growth plate. As children grow prior to and during puberty, the growth plate changes from cartilage cells to bone cells. It will put stress on the heel if cartilage cells develop into bone cells faster than the child’s growth of leg muscles and tendons. Freiberg’s disease is a rare condition that is also a result of growth and can cause slight pain in the joint of the second toe. This is due to an issue with the growth plate for the metatarsal bone and is more likely to occur in adolescent girls or anyone with a second toe that is longer than the big toe.
- Ingrown Toenails: An ingrown nail occurs when a corner or side of the nail grows into the soft flesh around the nail. This can result in pain, swelling and possibly an infection. Tight shoes, trauma to the toe and improper nail trimming can all develop into a painful ingrown toenail for your child.
If you suspect your child is suffering from any of these conditions, it’s important to have your child evaluated by a podiatrist. Remember, early intervention is key!
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