In many cases, there is a predisposition for injuries that occur in adolescent athletes. The following list are some tell-tale signs that may help to prevent future injuries to a child.
1. The child tends to stumble or even trip while walking or running.
2. One shoulder is lower than the other.
3. The hips are asymmetrical when walking or running.
4. The knees point inward or outward rather than straight ahead.
5. The feet turn in or out while walking or running.
6. There is an early heel-off with all the weight going to the ball of the feet.
7. When the child stands, the arches are very high or extremely flat.
8. The child complains of night cramps that wake him or her in the night or muscle spasms in the feet and legs.
9. The child has noticeable hammertoes, bunions, or bony enlargements in the forefoot or rearfoot.
10. The wear pattern on the child’s shoes appears to be worn down on the outside or inside.
If some, or even a few, of these signs are present, the child should be professionally evaluated as prevention is the best form of treatment. It is the group of pre-teens and teens who play two or more sports that I am most concerned with as there is a greater chance of overuse injuries. There is also a greater chance of injury to the epiphysis, or growth center of bone. Injury to the epiphysis of the heel, knee, or hip can cause a disturbance in the bone formation.
The growing pains of children are at times due to the pain of the apophyseal (heel growth plate) injury. Many of the gait abnormalities can be helped by stretching and strengthening exercises, conditioning programs, ice therapy, cross training, and biomechanical orthotic shoe inserts which should control the problem and allow the child to continue with his or her respective sport.
If you are concerned about the way your child/ren walk or run, or if they have any problems, call The Podiatrist.
Children’s feet change with age. Shoe and sock sizes may change every few months as a child’s feet grow.
- Shoes that don’t fit properly can aggravate the feet. Always measure a child’s feet before buying shoes, and watch for signs of irritation.
- Never hand down footwear. Just because a shoe size fits one child comfortably doesn’t mean it will fit another the same way. Also, sharing shoes can spread fungi like athlete’s foot and nail fungus.
- Examine the heels. Children may wear through the heels of shoes quicker than outgrowing shoes themselves. Uneven heel wear can indicate a foot problem that should be checked by a podiatrist.
- Take your child shoe shopping. Every shoe fits differently. Letting a child have a say in the shoe buying process promotes healthy foot habits down the road.
- Always buy for the larger foot. Feet are seldom precisely the same size.
- Buy shoes that do not need a “break-in” period. Shoes should be comfortable immediately. Also make sure to have your child try on shoes with socks or tights, if that’s how they’ll be worn.
- Consider closed toe shoes. Covering the child’s toes allows for more protection.
Do Your Child’s Shoes “Make The Grade?”
- Look for a stiff heel. Press on both sides of the heel counter. It shouldn’t collapse.
- Check toe flexibility. The shoe should bend with your child’s toes. It shouldn’t be too stiff or bend too much in the toe box area.
- Select a shoe with a rigid middle. Does your shoe twist? Your shoe should never twist in the middle.
- Are the shoes secure on the foot? Laces or Velcro are best to hold the foot in place.
Additional Advice for Parents
- Foot problems noticed at birth will not disappear by themselves. Do not wait until children get older to fix a problem. Foot problems in youths can lead to create problems down the road.
- Get your child checked by The Podiatrist. A lack of complaint by a youngster is not a reliable sign that there is no problem. The bones of growing feet are so flexible that they can be twisted and distorted without the child being aware of it.
- Walking is the best of all foot exercises. Observe your child’s walking patterns. Does your child have gait abnormalities? Correct the problem before it becomes a bigger issue.
- Going barefoot is a healthy activity for children under the right conditions. However, walking barefoot on dirty pavement can expose children’s feet to the dangers of infection through accidental cuts and to severe contusions, sprains or fractures. Plantar warts, a virus on the sole of the foot, can also be contracted.
Children’s sports-related injuries are on the rise. A child’s visit to The Podiatrist can help determine any concerns there may be regarding the child participating in specific sports and help identify the activities that may be best suited for the individual child.
Visit The Podiatrist for any concerns you may have.
Strong, healthy feet begin in childhood where early recognition and management of foot problems will prevent medical and structural problems later in life.
Unless a child has an obvious deformity or troublesome foot issue there is a good chance that his or her foot problem will be overlooked. Children’s feet are an important part of an overall developmental process. Any abnormalities within the feet will affect the general posture, causing changes within the skeletal structure. Some common children’s foot conditions are: flat feet, in-toe and out-toe walking and toe walking with the heels not touching the ground.
Sometimes the bone of the upper or lower leg is slightly twisted, a condition that may have a family history. If the leg bone is twisted inwards, the child may walk with toes-in and conversely if the bone is twisted outwards the walk is toes-out. A short or tight Achilles tendon is the most common cause when a child walks on tiptoes only. This condition could also be neurologically based so it is important that the child have a development assessment. Flat feet is a common foot condition characterized by an abnormally low or absent medial longitudinal arch, especially on weight bearing. It is normal for infants and toddlers to have low arches but they should be observed for any abnormal in-toeing, out-toeing or, excessive limping. Kids who over pronate often complain of night cramps, shin splints or heel pain.
For a proper assessment take your child to Kidsnmotion Podiatrists. Treatments usually consist of monitoring, exercises, activity alteration, orthotics, splints, braces, footwear,
Warning signs that your child should have a foot check-up: shoe wear is uneven, lumps or bumps are evident on the feet, pain in the feet, heel or leg, excessive tripping or falling, visible skin or toenail problems.
For more information make an appointment today
Many adult foot problems have their origins in childhood and are present at birth. Professional attention and regular foot care can minimize these problems in later life.
Neglecting foot health invites problems in other parts of the body, such as the legs and back. There can also be undesirable personality effects. The youngster with troublesome feet walks awkwardly and usually has poor general posture. As a result, the growing child may become shy, introverted, and avoid physical activities and social functions. Consultation between The Podiatrist at Kids ‘n Motion and other health professionals can help to resolve these problems.
Some children have poor balance and are clumsy. This is because the nerve messages from their feet are not being transmitted to the head efficiently. This can be treated by the Kids ‘n Motion Podiatrists. Children who have poor balance look down, put their arms out and take very small steps when performing very simple balance related activities.
Some children will be required to do exercises to improve their posture, balance and foot function. At Kids ‘n Motion Podiatrists we customise an exercise program for each child. Digital photos of your child doing their exercises will be provided. This service is a helpful reminder for you at home when performing exercises.
Kid n Motion Website for happy feet and children.
To discuss your child’s feet with a qualified and experienced Podiatrist in Auckland – Contact Caron Orelowitz.