Why Is Pediatric Foot Care So Important?
Parents – you already know the routine. We tell our children to eat their vegetables at dinner, we fight to get them in the shower and wash behind their ears, and we make sure they brush their teeth before going to bed. But aren’t we forgetting something? What about our children’s foot care?
Although their “new” feet haven’t seen as many miles as ours, children’s foot care is a vital part of growing up with healthy feet and ankles into adulthood. And this is especially true when your child is active in sports. Having the right equipment and playing technique can help prevent sports injuries and other problems now and in the future.
What’s more, these “new” feet are often affected by the very same foot problems we parents may face. From flat feet to heel pain to ingrown toenails, there is a wide range of problems that children can experience in their feet and ankles. This is largely attributed to their still-developing bodies and active lifestyle – some injuries may result from playing sports while others are due to genetics. And, while most of these conditions are fairly common amongst our little ones, some can be serious and should be immediately addressed by a podiatrist.
Parents and guardians should also keep in mind that children sometimes are unable to recognize when there is actually a reason for concern. A painful heel or ingrown toenail can easily go unnoticed merely because children don’t quite know how to communicate their symptoms. That’s why, as parents, it is important that we pay close attention to our children’s walking gait and feet shape.
If your child ever complains of discomfort in their feet or ankles, your best course of action is to come visit our office right away. Pain is not normal and should never be dismissed as “not a big deal.” At Eugene Foot and Ankle Health Center, Dr. McCourt can provide pediatric care for any foot or ankle condition your child may be experiencing.
Common Pediatric Foot and Ankle Problems
While sometimes you might wish you could keep your child in a bubble forever, shielded from all the potential harms in the world, that is, of course, not an option. Ultimately, facing the risk of being active outside is a healthier choice.
However, you should still become familiar with some of the most common pediatric foot and ankle conditions so you can take the necessary steps to prevent them and be able to recognize when symptoms need to be addressed.
Here are some of the most common foot and ankle conditions experienced by children:
- Flat Feet. Although flat feet are normal in infants and young children (since the muscles and tissues in their feet and ankles are still forming), this condition can sometimes cause pain and affect your child’s daily activities. When this happens, it is likely that the condition is hereditary, and you should seek medical treatment immediately. However, 80% of children usually outgrow their flat feet by the age of six.
- Sports injuries. Ankle or foot sprains are especially common amongst highly active children who play sports like soccer or football. Ankle sprains in particular can be very dangerous when they affect your child’s developing bones and cartilage – this can result in growth plate fractures. These injuries often heal without too much of a problem, but it is vital to see a podiatrist whenever an injury does takes place.
- Developmental conditions. In-toeing (when the feet point inward while walking), out-toeing (when the feet point outward while walking) and toe walking (when the child walks on their toes or balls of their feet) are some of the most common types of developmental conditions. And, if your child does not outgrow these symptoms by early childhood, they can develop other problems as they enter adolescence and adulthood.
The bottom line is you should always seek professional care when your child is experiencing any type of foot or ankle pain. As they are still developing, all foot and ankle problems need to be addressed immediately in order to prevent any long-lasting problems throughout their adulthood.
Signs and Symptoms Parents Should Look For
As we already mentioned, children with foot problems may not always know how to communicate what they are feeling. However, there are several non-verbal cues which may indicate that something is wrong.
Some of these non-verbal cues include:
- Your child no longer wants to participate in activities they usually enjoy.
- Your child cannot keep up with peers, particularly when running.
- Your child complains of pain in their lower extremities.
- Your child trips or falls often, especially when running.
- Your child avoids showing you their feet.
You should also monitor your child’s walking gait patterns – regularly observe if their feet are pointing inward or outward when walking and watch to see if they continue to walk on their toes after the first 2-3 months of walking.
If you ever notice one or more of these symptoms in your child’s behaviors, look for the appropriate helping sources.
Find Expert Pediatric Foot Care at Eugene Foot and Ankle Health Center
Here, at Eugene Foot and Ankle Health Center, your child will receive excellent care. When you come visit our office, we will perform a thorough evaluation of their feet and ankles in order to determine the correct diagnosis and customize a treatment plan aimed to eradicate whatever condition we find.
All you have to do is schedule an appointment with us! Simply call our office at (541) 683-3351 or fill out our handy request from online to have one of our trained staff members reach out to you.
Monday............ 8:00am - 5:00pm
Tuesday............ 8:00am - 5:00pm
Wednesday............ 8:00am - 5:00pm
Thursday............ 8:00am - 5:00pm
Friday............ 8:00am - 4:00pm (Only available on phones)
Closed for lunch from 12pm - 1pm and closed until 1:30pm on Tuesdays