Wishing you all a Happy Easter.
Take care on the roads.
Neglecting your child’s foot health invites problems in other parts of the body, such as the legs and back.
Foot health begins in childhood because your child’s feet must carry him or her for a lifetime. Your child’s life is certain to be happier and more enjoyable if you have your child develop strong, healthy feet as he or she grows into adulthood.
In the first year, a child’s foot grows rapidly reaching almost half their adult foot size. The Podiatrist considers the first year to be the most important in regards to development.
To help ensure normal growth, parents should allow their baby to kick and stretch his or her feet and make sure shoes and socks do not squeeze their toes.
Children should not wear shoes until they can walk, so avoid pram shoes, which are normally soft, and usually made to match outfits. For babies, avoid tightly wrapped blankets that prevent kicking and leg movement. Walking barefoot, where it is safe, is also good for children. However, children’s feet are vulnerable to deformity from any ill-fitting footwear or hosiery until the bones are completely formed at about 18 years of age. In addition, socks made from natural materials are better for your child’s feet than stretch-fit socks.
When buying shoes for your child, the shape of the shoe and the toe area should be wide and round, allowing for toes to move and spread. It is also important for the shoe to have a lace or a buckle, without this your child’s toes will claw to hold the shoe on. The heel of the shoe should not be too high, as high heels can also result in foot deformity.
Parents are encouraged to contact The Podiatrist for further consultation on their child’s growing, active feet. Having strong, healthy helps children to walk, run, and play, which is why it is important to take extra precautions to protect their feet in order to provide them a lifetime of healthy feet.
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.
There’s simply no substitute for organized game play in a child’s physical, emotional and mental development. Even non-organized physical activity is important, like climbing trees, going for a swim on a hot Saturday, or riding a bicycle to a friend’s house.
But kids are notorious for not complaining about their injuries, for any number of reasons. And injuries at such a young age can literally change the development of every muscle in their body, as the uninjured parts compensate for the injured parts. As a parent, you need a sharp eye to watch for changes in behavior or body language, even though we all know how hard that is.
Signs of possible unspoken injury to a child’s feet or ankles may include changes in their gait, occasional limping, favoring one foot over another, walking on their toes, problems running, or unusual fatigue.
The most common sports injury in children is heel pain. Many times this can be simple plantar fasciitis from overuse, usually controlled with pain medicine, rest, icing and if necessary, physical therapy and foot orthoses to be worn in their shoes. But it may also be a sign of Sever’s disease, an inflammation of the heel’s growth plate due to muscle strain and repetitive stress. This is especially common in highly active children and those carrying extra weight.
Bear in mind that the symptoms of heel pain in adults are considerably different than heel pain in children. In adults, heel pain is usually worst in the morning upon rising, and subsides as the tissue warms up with light activity. But in children, heel pain usually doesn’t diminish as the child moves around – in fact it may get much worse.
If your child complains about heel pain, don’t take it lightly. Make an appointment with The Podiatrist immediately, because early intervention is key to a continued healthy development.