Common Pediatric Foot Problems
Pediatric (children’s) foot problems are referred to by podiatrists as podopediatrics. Foot problems in your child may appear at birth, shortly thereafter, or once your child is walking. Walking abnormally (or walking in-toed or out-toed) is often the first sign that something is wrong with your child’s foot/feet. Sometimes the child out-toes, in-toes or may walk or limp on their toes (the heel doesn’t come down to the ground). A child walking abnormally may alert you that there could be a foot problem.
Adolescents and teenagers may also develop foot or ankle problems and these should not be ignored. It is important to watch for any foot deformities or limping in your adolescent or teenage child, and consult with our podiatrists or an expert in pediatric podiatry if you notice any foot issues.
Pediatric Heel Pain
Heel pain in a child is a common children’s foot problem we see in our podiatry office. One of the first signs of foot problems in children that you may notice is your child limping or not wanting to walk on his or her foot. Pediatric heel pain differs from adult heel pain in that the child’s foot is still growing, and as a result, more flexible.
Your child’s heel pain may be due to an abnormality of the heel bone’s growth area. In these cases, the growth area of the heel bone becomes inflamed, and pain worsens when your child tries to walk or participate in sports. Other heel pain causes include a fracture, bone tumor, bursitis or infection. If you notice your child limping or complaining of heel or arch pain, you should have the child evaluated by one of our podiatrists as soon as possible.
In-Toeing or Out-Toeing in Children
Another common foot problem we see in children is in-toeing, which is often referred to as walking pigeon-toed. Instead of the foot pointed straight forward, the foot turns inward. Sometimes in-toeing occurs with only one foot, or it may affect both feet. The child may limp, stumble or even trip and fall when running or walking. In-toeing may be due to a structural issue with the foot itself or related to the leg or hips.
Out-toeing is the reverse of in-toeing, where the child’s foot points outward when they are walking. Again, this problem can affect one or both feet, and can cause the child to stumble or even fall when running or walking.
Both in-toeing and out-toeing are considered structural problems and when these problems are caught early, they are easy to correct. Most parents are able to spot in-toeing or out-toeing in their child, usually shortly after the child begins to walk. If you suspect in-toeing or out-toeing, you should bring your child in for an evaluation.
Toe-Walking in Children
Another foot problem our podiatrists see in children is walking more on their toes or the front of the their foot, rather than putting their heel down on the ground. The child who toe-walks may appear to “bounce” as they walk.
This problem may be due to bone abnormality in the child’s foot or a neurologic issue, though more often it is due to the tendon at the back of the leg, called the Achilles tendon, being too short. Most of the time, a tight Achilles tendon can be treated conservatively, though in severe cases a small procedure may help lengthen the tendon.
Flatfeet (Overpronation) in Children
Flatfeet are related to the development of all kinds of foot, ankle and leg pain and problems. Your child may have difficulty walking or may complain of “tired” feet. Flatfeet are often due to excess pronation (or hyperpronation). Overpronation may cause the foot to flatten excessively, potentially causing foot pain, heel pain and even ankle, leg, knee or hip pain.
Fortunately, treating flatfeet is easy. Often, we recommend simple arch support that molds to your child’s foot, called an orthotic. Orthotics are custom-made to your child’s feet and slip in your child’s shoes. Generally, the younger your child is when he or she begins wearing orthotics, the better.
Ingrown Toenails in Children
Alleviating an ingrown toenail is easy and fast when it is addressed promptly. It is important that you do not ignore your child’s ingrown toenail as it can become infected and lead to other complications. Make an appointment to have your child’s foot problems examined by our foot doctors, contact Gentle Touch Podiatrics today!
The list of children’s foot problems would not be complete without mentioning plantar warts. Plantar warts of the feet show up on the bottom of a child (or adult’s) foot, though warts can occur anywhere on the foot or even the toes. Warts are often on the toes or the sides of the foot.
Warts are due to a virus and they tend to affect children’s feet more than adults. Plantar warts are easy to catch but they can spread rapidly and are highly contagious. Worse, plantar warts can be irritating or even painful. Some children or young adults have pain from the plantar warts when walking or standing.
Parents who notice a plantar wart on their child’s foot should see our podiatrists immediately, before the wart spreads. Most of the treatments for plantar warts are easy and painless. In more advanced or resistant cases, our podiatrists may use a laser to destroy the wart or other methods. Laser treatment of warts is typically reserved for the more advanced cases of plantar warts or when there is an abundance of plantar warts on the foot or feet.
Affordable Payment Plans for Children's Foot Troubles
If you do not have insurance, are under-insured, or you have a high deductible and wish to pay cash, we will work with you! We understand that not everyone has insurance and we offer an affordable, reduced fee, low-cost cash price (and payment plans) for your child’s foot problems.
Our friendly and experienced team is ready to treat your child’s foot condition. If you have any questions about your child’s feet or ankles please make an appointment to see one of our physicians.