Children’s Foot Care
Proper foot and ankle health is a critical component of a young person’s health and wellbeing, in both the short and long terms. Healthy feet and ankles in the first few decades of life help kids start out on the right trajectory for a lifetime of pain-free independence and activity.
That said, it can often be difficult for parents to determine whether a funny waddle or certain foot shape is a sign of bad things to come, or just a normal part of growing up. Kids’ bodies, skeletal structures, and walking gaits take time to develop. They won’t always tell you when something hurts, either! This makes diagnosis more difficult for the layperson, and it also means conditions and treatment options are often very different than with adult feet.
At the Kansas Foot Center, you can count on our team to provide the highest quality foot care services to all members of your family, even the very smallest.
Congenital Deformities and Gait Abnormalities
Are you worried about the way your child’s feet look, or the way they walk? It may be a phase they grow out of, or it could be something more. Here are some common conditions children can experience early in life:
- Flat feet. Children may have flattened arches for a variety of reasons. Often, kids just learning to walk will have a flexible arch that flattens only when standing. Many flatfoot cases do not need treatment, but if the flatfoot is caused by an abnormal bone fusion or neurological condition, the problem could potentially be serious.
- Intoeing or out-toeing. In these related conditions, feet point a little inward or outward due to rotation in the forefoot, shins, or thighs. Depending on direction and location of rotation, this can cause related gait abnormalities, such as pigeon-toes or knock knees.
- Feet that look particularly bent or twisted at birth are a somewhat common major birth defect. They are usually treatable without surgery but may require several years of casting, stretching, and bracing.
Skin and Nail Irritations
Kids can get into all sorts of mess and trouble. Germs are plentiful in schools and playground, and kids haven’t developed strong immune systems like adults have. That makes them more susceptible to range of skin and nail irritations, including:
- Athlete’s foot. This usually makes itself known as a scaly, itchy rash on the tops of feet and between the toes.
- Ingrown toenails. When toenails get pressed (or just start off too curved for their own good), they may occasionally dig painfully into nearby flesh instead of grow above it.
- Foot odor. Young feet tend to perspire more than adult ones do, which often means stinky feet.
- Plantar warts. Warts are often painless, but a large wart on the weight-bearing portion of the foot can cause moderate to severe discomfort. They can also be embarrassing for your little one.
Growing Up Quickly
From infancy all the way through the teen years, kids grow at a dizzying pace. The shoes that were way too big six months ago? They’re way too small today! It may be a pain to keep buying new shoes and socks (we strongly discourage you from using hand-me-down footwear) and a challenge to keep feet clean and dry, but doing these things will help your little one stay healthy and happy!
As kids get older and begin to play sports and other organized activities, there’s always a risk that they will develop heel pain, sprained ankles, sore tendons, and other foot and ankle injuries from either high-impact trauma or repetitive overuse and overtraining. Fortunately kids are remarkably resilient and tend to recovery quickly, but that doesn’t mean they should keep pushing themselves! If you notice any signs of pain or limping, or your child reports them to you, quick treatment will not only bring faster relief but also help prevent the development of chronic conditions.
If you have any concerns whatsoever about the health of your child’s feet or ankles, don’t hesitate to bring them to see Dr. Tom Truong at The Kansas Foot Center. We’d love to meet your family!
Our team is specially trained in pediatric foot concerns and will be sure to treat you and your loved ones with the utmost courtesy and care. To schedule your appointment in either Wichita or Newton, call today at (866) 222-5177.