Does My Child Really Have Bunions?
Bunions, for better or worse, are sometimes thought of as an “old lady” problem. There is, to be fair, a smidgen of truth to that. After all, women are about 10 times as likely as men to develop this particular foot deformity, and because wear and tear is often a significant component, the risk increases with age.
However, you don’t have to be old or female to develop a bunion. Even kids and adolescents can get them in certain situations. So, if you see a bump starting to form at the base of your son or daughter’s big toe, and the toe is looking a bit out of alignment, don’t shrug it off.
Bunions at a Young Age
While bunions in adults are commonly associated with high heels and tight shoes, that’s usually not the case with kids. Instead, the core issue can be a more basic, fundamental issue with the way your child’s feet are structured. For example, kids with flat feet (either flexible or rigid), intoeing, certain neuromuscular conditions, or even an especially long first metatarsal bone may be more likely to develop bunions. These conditions can place extra weight or stress on the joint at the base of the big toe, along with the surrounding muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
A juvenile bunion is more likely to be the result of fundamental flaws in foot structure. Because of this, it’s extremely important that you seek medical care as early as possible. Bunions are a progressive condition and will only get worse if you don’t step in to stop them.
Early Treatment, Better Future
The good news is that, if you catch it early, a juvenile bunion can often be treated without surgery. We’ll pursue conservative care options first, such as foot exercises, orthotic inserts, toe spacers, and making sure your child is wearing appropriate shoes for all activities. This may be enough to put off more invasive treatments indefinitely. That said, if bunion surgery is ultimately needed it’s best to wait, if possible, for the bones of the feet to reach full maturity first. This typically occurs around the mid to late teens.
One other thing to keep in mind, and to tell your child: bunions in kids are not their fault, and nothing to be ashamed or afraid of. In fact, they’re a lot more common than you might think. That said, the best thing for everyone involved is to get treatment as quickly and calmly as possible.
For that, you can turn to the experts at the Kansas Foot Center in Wichita, KS. Our team is trained in both conservative and surgical treatment of bunions for patients of all ages, and we will do everything in our power to provide a safe, healthy, comfortable, gentle, and above all effective treatment for your child. To schedule your appointment, please call (866) 222-5177 today.