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.
It’s easier to protect your feet during winter, but one needs to look after them.
The tips should be followed religiously to get the best results, says The Podiatrist.
Here are the tips:
* Wash feet daily: Wearing socks and closed in shoes all day is when you sweat a lot and so do your feet. This attracts lots of dirt and dust. So, make sure that before going to bed, you wash your feet with tepid water for around 15 minutes- you can use a Gehwol Foot Bath
* Moisturise daily: Use any lotion or foot cream and make it your daily routine to apply it on your feet. But don’t go overboard with moisturiser especially between your toes as it might cause fungal infection.
* Choose comfortable footwear: Give your feet space to breathe by wearing comfortable footwear preferably made of mesh fabric.
* Check between your toes regularly for signs of fungal infections.
See The Podiatrist for any foot care needs.
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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.
By now, most of us have heard that wearing stiletto heels are not great for our feet, legs or back. Think it’s safer to go with flats? Perhaps a nice, natural-feeling flip-flop? Sadly, think again.
Podiatrists’ offices are seeing women with foot pain caused by a summer season spent in slides, and flip-flops.
So, look down at your own feet. If you can see your nice, summer nail polish peeking up at you in a pair of flip-flops, you may want to read on.
High-Heels-for-Girls Trend Raises Concerns
Wearing flip-flops for excessive amounts of time could cause temporary or even long-term damage to the musculoskeletal system.
For one thing, flip-flops lack proper arch support, causing your full body weight to exert pressure on the plantar surface of the foot. With time, this may cause widening of the foot and arch collapse.
When the toes crunch up in an effort to grip the front sole of the shoe, this can disrupt the dynamics of the stride, resulting in a shortened stride, with consequences going up the body from the knees, to the hips, to the lower back.
Plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis are also possible.
So what does this mean for your summer foot wardrobe? Don’t despair! You can still wear this summer fashion staple – but there are a few recommendations.
Firstly, limit time spent in flip-flops by wearing a variety of different types of shoes.
Secondly, try to avoid walking long distances in flip-flops.
Lastly, choose a flip-flop with good arch support and good cushioning for your sole.
Realize that anything done to excess has the potential to cause problems to your body and, unfortunately, wearing these cool summer shoes are no exception. They represent the extreme of flatness just as stilettos represent the extreme of heights. Both can land you in the podiatrist’s office!
Remember that even pain in your low back can be a sign that your footwear needs a change.
See The Podiatrist for any foot problems.
Walking is the major achievement of kids this age and over the course of the year they’ll get much better at it.
As kids’ mobility improves, so does their ability to investigate where they couldn’t before. Once again, take a look around your home from a kid’s vantage point and update childproofing measures to keep pace with your child’s advancing skills.
How Is My Baby Moving?
Though some babies take their first steps before their first birthdays, most children learn to walk well in the months after they turn 1.
Kids who are learning to walk are called “toddlers” because that’s exactly what they do — they toddle, keeping their legs wide apart and seeming to hesitate between each step, jerking from side to side as they move one foot forward, then the next.
About 6 months after taking the first steps, toddlers develop a more mature gait, holding their hands at their sides (rather than out in front for balance) and moving with their feet closer together. They also tend to move their feet in a way that looks more like walking — moving from the heel to the toe.
During these months of practice, most toddlers take a few spills, but this is part of learning to walk. You can’t protect your youngster from every fall, but you can reduce the risk of injury by keeping exploration in areas with soft carpeted surfaces and away from sharp corners of furniture.
To get back up from a fall, toddlers often place their hands out in front, lift up their bottom, and then pull their feet under. It may not look very graceful, but it works.
After walking for a couple of months, your child will begin to feel more confident about walking and take on new challenges — such as picking up and carrying objects, moving while pulling a toy behind, and climbing stairs.
By the middle of the second year, your child may learn to run, start to kick a ball, and even attempt to throw a ball overhand. By 2 years, your child may jump in place.
As kids develop the ability to move, they’re also learning. You’ll notice that your child seems extremely interested in finding out how things work, so offer safe opportunities to do this.
Helping Your Child’s Development
Give your child lots of things to do and see in this new upright position. Take walks around your yard or through the neighborhood together or hold hands and climb up and down the stairs together. You can even make an obstacle course of pillows or boxes and encourage your child to walk, climb, and crawl through it. Buy a few balls for kicking and throwing.
Experts recommend that toddlers should:
accumulate at least 30 minutes daily of structured physical activity like playing on the playground, going for a walk, or being in a parent-and-child tumbling class
also have at least 1 hour of unstructured free play each day when they can explore and play with toys
not be sedentary for more than 60 minutes at a time, except while they’re sleeping
have indoor and outdoor areas that meet or exceed recommended safety standards for all of their activities
As their physical skills develop, toddlers also learn to use their hands more. Toys and objects that can encourage this include:
paper and crayons
simple stacking toys that kids can build up and knock down
When to Call The Podiatrist
Normal child development follows a certain pattern, and the skills that babies develop early are building blocks for later skills. But the time it takes for kids to develop them can vary widely.
See The Podiatrist if you child is having problems:
walk by 18 months
walk in a more mature pattern after several months of practice
walk any way but on the toes
climb stairs while holding on
Whether your baby rises from a crawl with a shaky first step or a full-on sprint across the living room, chances are you’ll be on the edge of your seat. But remember — a child’s first steps usually aren’t picture perfect.
Learning to walk takes time and practice, and it’s common for kids to start walking with their toes and feet turned at an angle. When feet turn inward — a tendency referred to as walking “pigeon-toed” — in-toeing. When feet point outward, it’s called out-toeing.
It can be upsetting to see your child develop an abnormal gait, but for most toddlers with in-toeing or out-toeing, it’s usually nothing to worry about. The conditions do not cause pain and usually improve as kids grow older.
Almost all healthy kids who toe-in or -out as toddlers learn to run, jump, and play sports as they grow up, just the same as kids without gait problems.
In-toeing and Out-toeing
Most toddlers toe-in or -out because of a slight rotation, or twist, of the upper or lower leg bones.
Tibial torsion, the most common cause of in-toeing, occurs when the lower leg bone (tibia) tilts inward. If the tibia tilts outward, a child will toe-out. When the thighbone, or femur, is tilted, the tibia will also turn and give the appearance of in-toeing or out-toeing. The medical term for this is femoral anteversion. In-toeing can also be caused by metatarsus adductus, a curvature of the foot that causes toes to point inward.
The reason some kids develop gait abnormalities and others don’t is unclear, but many experts think that a family history of in-toeing or out-toeing plays a role. So, if you toed-in or -out as a child, there’s a chance that your child could develop the same tendency. Additionally, a cramping of the fetus in the womb during pregnancy could also have led to in-toeing or out-toeing.
As a fetus grows, some of the bones have to rotate slightly to fit into the small space of the womb. In many cases, these bones are still rotated to some degree for the first few years of life. Many times this is most noticeable when a child learns to walk, because if the tibia or femur is tilted at an angle, the feet are, too.
Does Walking Improve?
As most kids get older, their bones very gradually rotate to a normal angle. Walking, like other skills, improves with experience, so kids will become better able to control their muscles and foot position.
In-toeing and out-toeing gets better over time, but the change occurs very gradually. And, it’s hard to notice. Parents can record their child walking, and then wait about a year to take another video. This usually makes it easy to see if the gait abnormality has improved over time. In most cases, it has. If not, parents should speak with their child’s doctor to discuss whether treatment is necessary.
If Walking Does Not Improve
Speak with The Podiatrist if you’re concerned about the way your child walks. For a small number of kids, gait abnormalities can be associated with other problems. For example, out-toeing could signal a neuromuscular condition in rare cases.
Have your child evaluated by The Podiatrist if you notice:
in-toeing or out-toeing that doesn’t improve by age 3
limping or complaints of pain
one foot that turns out more than the other
developmental delays, such as not learning to talk as expected
gait abnormalities that worsen instead of improve
If you are at all concerned, contact The Podiatrist