We provide treatment for foot and ankle issues for patients of all ages, including children. When it comes to children’s foot care, we find that some issues tend to be more common than others. By understanding the common child foot injuries and conditions, you can easily recognize when your son or daughter needs medical care.
Foot arches will typically begin to develop once a child is around the age of 3. At this point, there are still many children who appear to have a flatfoot condition when they stand or walk. This may be an indication of a common condition known as flexible flatfoot. In this case, the arches are observable when the child sits with legs dangling (so there is no weight on the feet). When he or she stands normally, the arches will disappear.
Foot arch development continues until approximately the age of 8. At this point, arches are stronger and it is less likely that you should expect to see a flatfoot condition. That being said, this is not a particularly rare condition.
Common complaints resulting from flat feet include foot and leg pain with sports and activity. Some children wake up at night complaining of foot pain. Frequent falling and tripping is another common complaint. Younger children with flat feet tend to not want to walk and ask to be carried all the time. Older children would not want to play sports because their feet would bother them. If your son or daughter has this problem, contact our practice and schedule an appointment with our office so we can provide the appropriate treatment he or she needs.
Treatment for pediatric flatfoot—and even for adult cases—is usually conservative in nature. A pair of custom orthotics Dr. Haro prescribes will often correct any issues that can accompany flatfoot; especially overpronation.
Other Common Child Foot Injuries
Whereas pediatric flatfoot is a particularly common condition we treat at Haro Podiatry & Laser Center, there are an array of other conditions we see on a frequent basis. These include:
- Plantar warts. Caused by certain strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV), plantar warts on the bottom of feet can lead to pain and discomfort. If your child has a wart on his or her foot, request an appointment so Dr. Haro can safely remove the viral growth and eliminate your child’s pain.
- Tip-toeing (Equinus). This condition is caused by tightening of the Achilles tendon, which causes a child’s heels to lift off the ground prematurely. Calf pain is a common symptom, and children may also tend to frequently trip and fall forward. Treatment is aimed on stretching of the Achilles tendon along with appropriate custom orthotics and shoes.
- Sports injuries. Sports are rather popular for countless kids and adolescents in the Clifton and Jersey City communities (and anywhere!). There is a wide array of benefits that comes from participating in sports, but any physical activity always comes with a certain degree of injury risk. We treat many young patients for injuries sustained during athletic practices or competition. A majority of cases do not require surgery and can be effectively cared for with conservative treatment methods.
- Sweaty feet and foul odor (Hyperhidrosis). Due to their very active nature, children tend to sweat. However, some do so more than others. Excessive sweating (hyperhydrosis) can lead to foul odor of the feet and in the shoes due to fungal growth. There are simple treatments that can be recommended to control both the sweating and the odor without stopping your child from being their normal, active self.
- Sever’s disease. Contrary to the name, this is not actually a disease. Instead it is a variance in the rates of growth between the Achilles tendon and heel bone (calcaneus) that can cause heel pain for adolescents. The problem occurs when the heel bone grows too quickly, thereby causing the Achilles to tug on it. This is the leading cause of heel pain for children, but there is good news in the fact there are generally no long-term problems. Treatment is centered on relieving existing symptoms.
- Ingrown toenails. This is another common condition that can occur as early as infancy and into their teens. Causes for ingrown toenails can vary and range from cutting the nails too short to wearing tight shoes.
Potential Treatment Options
We certainly hope to treat any patient successfully with non surgical methods, but this is especially true for children. The good news is that many cases do not require surgical intervention. Some treatment options Dr. Haro might use for your son or daughter include:
- Medication. Always make sure to check with our office for dosage recommendations, but nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can be helpful for relieving pain and inflammation.
- RICE therapy. Rest, ice, compression, and elevation are beneficial in relieving painful symptoms, lowering levels of inflammation, and helping the body perform its natural healing processes.
- Orthotic devices. Customized orthotics might be recommended as a highly effective treatment tool to address a wide range of medical issues. When preparing custom orthotics, Dr. Haro makes sure they will work in a specific manner to best accommodate your child’s unique feet.
- Surgery. As previously noted, we take every measure possible to treat a young patient’s condition with non surgical care, but there are rare cases when surgery is recommended. If this is the case for your child, you can take comfort in knowing that your son or daughter is in the hands of a skilled, expert foot surgeon.
Child Foot and Ankle Injury Prevention Tips
We love knowing we helped a child overcome pain and difficulty with conservative treatment, but even better is when an issue doesn’t happen in the first place. There are several measures that can be taken to lower the risk of foot and ankle problems for children, including:
- Shoes that fit correctly and are appropriate for any activity. If you need help with making the right shoe choices for your child, we can help!
- Keeping an eye on your child’s weight so there is less stress on his or her feet and ankles. A great way to do this is to encourage participation in sports or other physical activities.
- A regular stretching routine—particularly one that targets the calf muscles and Achilles tendons—is not only a good habit to start at a young age, it can also help reduce pain caused by Sever’s disease.
If your child has foot or ankle pain, contact us at the earliest opportunity. The sooner we can treat a problem, the better. Call us at 973-755-7775 if you have any questions regarding child foot care or need to request an appointment with either our Clifton on Jersey City offices for your son or daughter.