Children can experience many of the same medical issues as adults, as well as some issues that occur more commonly in a pediatric population. Some of the most common pediatric podiatry issues include:
Sports injuries are also very common, arising from physical activities like soccer, baseball, tennis, hockey, dancing, skating and snow sports. Some children have congenital defects that cause problems with gait (the way the child walks) and interfere with their ability to participate in sports and other activities, in addition to making them feel more self-conscious.
Another problem that can affect a child’s ability to join in with sports is Sever’s Disease. The temporary condition can occur when children grow very quickly, causing the growth plate in their heel bone to become inflamed. Children may also experience heel pain due to other conditions, such as plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendinitis. No concern over foot or ankle health is too small to bring to the attention of your podiatrist! If your child is suffering from any pain in their feet or ankles, it’s always best to ask a professional to take a look.
Because children’s feet and ankles are rapidly growing, pediatric foot care requires special skills, training, and experience to ensure this growth process is not hindered. Plus, the rapid growth and regeneration of tissue that occur in children also affects the way foot and ankle injuries heal, and those differences also must be taken into account when determining the best course of treatment.
Your children’s feet will go through many changes up until the age of around 14-16, when their feet stop growing. It’s not always easy to tell the difference between natural changes and problematic changes, especially as many foot problems develop slowly.
If your child has an infection or if they’re struggling to walk, then you should book an appointment with a podiatrist as soon as possible. There are also many other signs that your child needs to see a podiatrist, such as:
If your child has difficulties keeping up with their friends or frequently trips, then it may also be an indication that there’s a problem with their feet. When you visit Global Podiatry, we’ll inspect your child’s feet thoroughly for signs of problems and give you advice about how to identify potential issues early.
Diagnosis begins with a history of the symptoms as well as a careful visual examination of the foot and ankle. Depending on the symptoms, passive and active movements may also be used to determine the source of pain or stiffness. Diagnostic ultrasound and x-ray may be performed using on-site state-of-the-art equipment to evaluate both bone and soft tissue injuries.
Many injuries and conditions like flat feet can be treated conservatively using custom orthotics or, in some cases, bracing. Very rarely, surgery may be needed to correct severe defects or injuries like complex fractures. Your child’s podiatrist may advise custom orthotics for corrections to the posture of their ankles or feet. Orthotics are very effective for correcting a number of common problems and can help to stop complications developing later in life.
For conditions like in-grown toenails, the exact treatment we advise can depend on the severity of the problem. Cleaning and cutting the toenail may suffice in minor cases; more serious cases could require the surgical removal of part or all of the nail.
When we create a treatment plan for your child, we’ll be working to achieve a solution to the root cause of their problems, not just their symptoms.
Great foot care starts at home. There are many things that you can do to help your child’s feet develop properly and remain healthy, such as:
Show your child how to wash and dry their feet properly when they’re old enough to do it themselves
If you would like more advice about preventing common foot problems, then we’ll be more than happy to help you! You don’t need to have any concerns about your child’s feet or ankles to book an appointment at Global Podiatry, you can arrange to see a podiatrist for advice and regular checkups.
For many young children – and adults! – visiting the doctors isn’t a fun experience, but we hope to change that. We have substantial experience treating children of all ages and do everything we can to make the experience as comfortable and relaxing as possible for them. To get more information about diagnosing and treating foot and ankle conditions, get in touch with Global Podiatry today. We have clinics conveniently located in Chicago & Wheeling, IL, so you won’t have to travel far to get expert care for your child’s feet.