Issues with feet can affect anyone at any age. Parents shouldn’t assume that signs of foot problems in children are merely “growing pains.
Managing children’s health is complicated enough, especially for first-time parents. It can be a struggle to truly know and even understand which signs and symptoms are temporary and which point to more serious concerns.
In truth, the professionals a The Podiatrist and Kidsnmotion agree that there are some pediatric foot problems that resolve themselves with growth and time. However, there are clear signs when children need medical help.
Common foot problems can range from pediatric flat foot, toe walking, in-toeing and flat or high arches to tarsal coalitions (an abnormal bridge of tissue that connects two normally separate tarsal bones plus extra bone growth — quite simply, when the bones of the feet fail to separate during fetal development).
While these conditions of the feet and their treatments are different, they share some common signs that show parents there is a problem that needs to be addressed:
- Pain, swelling and redness that does not subside
- Development of thick calluses in one area of the foot
- Problems with the way your child walks
- Shins or thighbones that appear to turn inward
- Ankles that are weak or easily give out
As much as your child’s general health and well-being is important, do not ignore symptoms; foot health is just as important as any other medical examination.
There are several treatment options for these conditions. Whether a less invasive approach — such as shoe modifications, orthotic devices and physical therapy — or a more intensive intervention — such as bracing, steroid injections or even surgery — is needed, The Podiatrist can advise parents on which treatment offers the best long-term prognosis.
If you believe that a family member is experiencing any of the above symptoms, perhaps it’s time to seek professional help and book a consultation for a thorough examination, diagnosis and possible treatment with The Podiatrist.
Some tips to help prevent your child from getting painful foot problem | The Podiatrist and yourfeetnz
Many kids hide their ingrown toenails from their parents, even though the condition can cause significant pain. An ingrown nail can break the skin and lead to dangerous infections.
The Podiatrist says that tight shoes, tight socks and incorrect nail trimming are the most common causes. In others, the children may inherit the tendency for nails to curve.
Teach children how to trim their toenails properly. Trim toenails in a fairly straight line, and don’t cut them too short.
Make sure children’s shoes fit. Shoe width is more important than length. Make sure the widest part of the shoe matches the widest part of your child’s foot.
If a child develops a painful ingrown toenail, reduce the inflammation by soaking the child’s foot in room-temperature water and gently massaging the side of the nail fold.
The only proper way to treat a child’s ingrown toenail is with a visit to The Podiatrist.
Parents should not try to dig the nail out or cut it off. These dangerous “bathroom surgeries” carry a high risk of infection.
For all your child’s foot care needs, visit The Podiatrist.
A recent study from the Institute for Preventive Foot Health found that 78 percent of adults have experienced foot trouble at one time or another, according to Consumer Reports.
Often the source of the problem is improperly fitting shoes. The biggest shoe mistakes: too tight, too high-heeled or too floppy. The good news, of course, is that those are easy problems to fix.
By far, Consumer Reports notes, the most common problem is simply choosing the wrong size of shoe. One study that actually measured people’s feet revealed shoes that were either a half size too large or small; 12 percent were off by 1½ sizes or more.
How does that happen? Your shoe size can change with age. As we get older, the soles of our feet lose padding, and ligaments and tendons lose elasticity and lengthen. Weight gain or pregnancy can also cause feet to widen. Experts have estimated that people older than 40 can actually gain half a shoe size every 10 years.
A study on footwear choices among older people found that 8 out of 10 wore shoes that were narrower than their feet, and more than four out of 10 wore shoes with a smaller total area than their foot.
Shoes that fit too loosely can also be problematic. They can create friction when feet slide around as you walk and put you at an increased risk of tripping on carpets or stairs. Shoes with no backs at all, like flip-flops and mules, can force you to take shorter, more irregular strides.
Even if the shoe fits, it can still hurt you. These styles are especially likely to cause foot pain:
• Shoes with small or pointy toe boxes. They force your big toe inward and don’t leave enough room for your other toes. The most common consequence is a painful lump of bone on the inside of the foot called hallux valgus, better known as a bunion. The condition affects almost 1 in 4 adults and, if painful enough, can require corrective surgery. Jammed against a tight toe box, the other four toes can develop a condition called hammer toes, a shortening of the first joint that causes each toe to curl up instead of lying flat – even when you’re barefoot.
• High heels. They can cause the Achilles tendon in the ankle to contract and shorten, which can trigger plantar fasciitis (an inflammation of the soles) and cause neuromas, painful nerve growths on the ball of the foot.
• Thin soles. Ballet flats and other shoes with little padding can also cause plantar fasciitis because the lack of proper cushioning can inflame the balls of your feet.
To avoid shoe-induced foot problems, Consumer Reports recommends getting the right fit in the first place. Measure your feet regularly. The best time is at the end of the day when they have expanded to the max. Other tips to consider:
• Try shoes on both of your feet. Most of us have one foot that is larger than the other. Your shoes should fit the larger foot.
• Stay away from shoes with narrow toe boxes. That’s especially true if you have already started to develop bunions or hammer toes.
• Be careful when buying shoes online. If in doubt, order shoes in more than one size. Many companies offer free returns, so your only investment is the time it takes to drop your rejects into the mail.
• Go low with heels. Stick to heels that are 2ø inches or lower. If you like to wear higher heels for special occasions, bring them to the event in a bag, put them on at the door and remove them the minute you leave.
Make an appointment with The Podiatrist today for all your foot care need.
Stretching properly is a little more technical than just swinging your leg over a park bench. There are methods and techniques that will maximize the benefits and minimize the risk of injury.
Which muscles should be stretch?
As a general rule; if it’s not tight and it’s not causing you any problems, you don’t need to stretch it. There are a few exceptions to this (such as athletes that require increased flexibility for their chosen sport), but for most people this is a wise rule to follow. So if you perform a stretch and you don’t feel any tension in the target muscle group, this would indicate that you’re not tight in that area.
As you start to notice which muscles are tight and which muscles aren’t, aim to create a balance of flexibility between the front of your body and the back of your body, and the left side of your body and the right side of your body.
For example, if you notice that your right hamstring muscles are tighter than your left hamstrings muscles, work on the right hamstring muscles until you have even flexibility in both
When to Stretch?
Most people understand the importance of stretching as part of a warm-up or cool-down, but when else should you stretch? Stretch periodically throughout the entire day. It is a great way to stay loose and to help ease the stress of everyday life. One of the most productive ways to utilize time is to stretch while watching television. Start with five minutes of marching or jogging on the spot then take a seat on the floor in front of the television and start stretching.
Should I Stretch Every Day?
Firstly, we need to make a distinction between doing a few gentle stretches and doing a more intense flexibility training session. Take regular “Stretch Breaks” throughout the day to keep loose and limber. However, a more intense flexibility training session is another thing altogether.
Hold, Count, Repeat
For Static and Passive stretching, some text will say that holding a stretch for as little as ten seconds is enough. This is a bare minimum. Ten seconds is only just enough time for the muscles to relax and start to lengthen. For any real improvement to flexibility, each stretch should be held for at least twenty to thirty seconds, and repeated at least two or three times.
For all your foot problems, contact The Podiatrist
Choosing the right running shoe has never been easy.
Besides such usual variables as style, price, make, model, comfort and fit, runners also spend time considering more technical features such as cushioning and stability.
In recent years, however, the debate about what runners put on their feet has heated up. From the au naturel crowd who think shoes are unnecessary altogether, to the more conservative wave of runners who believe in shoes but not their technology, there’s a distinct shift away from the old rules of choosing shoes.
Cushioning, once considered the primary measure of a shoe’s worth, has dropped down the list of a shoe’s must-haves. So, too, have stability features, which are designed to correct biomechanical flaws. Today runners are told to rely on perfect mechanics instead of the perfect pair of shoes if they want to reduce their risk of injury.
Those mechanics include shifting from striking the ground heel first to landing mid- to forefoot first. In fact, say those who support a forefoot landing, switching from landing on your heel to landing on the front of your foot reduces so much of the impact stress that running shoes no longer need their customary well cushioned heel to reduce the risk of injury.
That shift in philosophy has caused considerable confusion among those who have spent most of their running lives pounding the pavement in cushioned shoes laden with technology. Add to the fact that there’s no proof changing your shoes or how your foot makes contact with the ground will keep runners injury free, and the confusion among average runners is justified.
The barefoot fad has died down, leaving most runners to choose a shoe that lands somewhere between the technology-laden model of old and the minimalist style that features little more than a thin sole and upper. This stripped down version of running shoe has a lower profile heel with decidedly less cushioning and minimal stability features.
Does that mean runners need to abandon shoes that have served them well for decades and buy into this new fad of running shoes?
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
It would start with a mild ache and gradually worsen to a deep throb, forcing me to rub my shin with my other foot, doing what I could to stop the pain. I remember this pain like it was yesterday. When I was younger I used to frequently wake up, howling in pain and clutching my shins. My mom would cuddle me, place warm cloths on my legs and rub them in attempt to comfort me. I remember trips to several doctors; my mother constantly searching for new opinions, but without fail was always told that I suffered from “growing pains.” Does this sound familiar?
Growing pains are essentially pains in the leg muscles (not the joints), experienced frequently or infrequently, in children aged two to 12 years of age. Pain generally occurs at night. Nobody fully understands why they happen, but one thing is clear: they have nothing to do with growth. The term “growing pains” first came to into being in the 1800s, but since then medical professionals have realized that the pain doesn’t correspond to a period of rapid growth. Unfortunately, the name stuck. I’d prefer to call it “non-inflammatory prepubescent nocturnal leg pain syndrome,” but I guess “growing pains” is faster and easier to say.
The most accepted cause of growing pains is muscle fatigue from over-activity. This theory meshes with parental observations that growing pains are often worse on nights after sports practices or long periods spent walking or running. In my profession we also correlate growing pains with feet that aren’t aligned and supported properly. Poor foot alignment and function cause instability of the feet during weight bearing activities and can be a significant cause of growing pains in children, particularly in children who have very flat feet, ankles which roll inward and are very flexible. This causes uneven weight bearing through the foot as well as misalignment of joints further up the body, causing muscle strain.
Growing pains are characterized by aching or throbbing pain in one or both legs at night. There is no swelling, not visible sign of injury, no pain when touched and does not cause your child to limp. If your child wakes up complaining of aching, throbbing legs, try the following to soothe his or her discomfort:
• Apply warm cloths or a heating pad to the aching area. Remove once your child has fallen asleep.
• Have your child get up and walk.
• Rub your child’s legs with a soothing cream.
• Have your child stretch the muscles in his or her leg.
• If all else fails, try giving your child a pain reliever.
To prevent growing pains, have your child wear supportive shoes, especially with increased activity.
If your child experiences growing pains, make an appointment with The Podiatrist who will determine if your child has a foot problem which may be causing his or her night time pain, and will discuss appropriate and effective treatment options. No more sleepless nights for either of you!