It’s time to see a podiatrist if your child is constantly complaining their feet hurt.
When children grow too fast, it can cause growing pains. For many kids, growing pains can be quite annoying and painful. The most common area of a child’s body to be affected by growing pains is the feet. There are many common pediatric foot issues that should be addressed by your child’s doctor as soon as possible.
Most issues can easily be resolved and others may be indicative of a more serious issue needing attention.
Common Pediatric Foot Problems
Undiagnosed issues can lead to long-term issues such as weak muscles, arthritis, deformity, severe pain, and mental anxiety. Early detection of many foot issues in children is key to the prevention of further damage or long-term suffering. Below are some of the more common issues children can have with their feet.
Flat Feet: Most children who have flat feet will grow out of the condition by the time they turn six years of age. However, around 20 percent will end up continuing to have flat feet. Flat feet is typically a hereditary issue passed down from one of the parents. If you notice your child walking with a funny gait or they constantly complain their feet are sore, it may be flat foot issues. A doctor may be able to help by suggesting foot strengthening exercises or custom-made orthotics to help correct the problem.
Misaligned Feet: When your child has misaligned feet, the small bone between their ankle and heel bones will slide off the heel. This problem can lead to a number of serious problems and pain that can be long-term. First attempts at treatment might include strengthening exercises and stretching. If this does not help, your child’s doctor might suggest a minimally invasive procedure to fix the issue.
Ankle and Foot Injuries: Children can be very active and easily get hurt without noticing at first. If your child begins to complain of any pain in one or both of their feet, it could be due to an ankle or foot injury. Bruising, breaks, tears, and sprains need to be diagnosed and treated properly as soon as possible. The doctor may suggest home remedies including icing and elevating the area that is injured. Depending on the injury sustained, your child may need orthotic taping, bandaging, bracing, or crutches. Even a mild sprain could end up being a lifelong problem if not treated in a timely manner.
Ingrown Toenails: An ingrown toenail refers to when your toenail grows into the sides of your nail bed. When this happens, your child’s toe skin can become broken and risks becoming infected. Bacterial infections in the toenail can become serious if not treated. Most doctors will first try a round of antibiotics to kill off the infection. If this doesn’t work, the doctor may suggest a quick procedure which involves injecting an anesthetic into the toe and then irrigating the infected area. This will allow the infection to quickly clear up and have the child pain free and ready to play in no time at all.
Heel Pain: Heel pain present in a child is not something to take lightly. Typically, children do not experience heel pain the way that adults do. It is crucial to have heel pain that does not go away in a couple days examined by a doctor and properly diagnosed. More often than not, heel pain is caused by inflammation of the heel bone’s growth plate. This can be treated at home using ice and stretching techniques. Plenty of rest off of the heel is also important. Bone infections are also a possible cause of heel pain in children.
Warts: When children have warts on their feet, they can be frustrating and tricky to treat. Warts are caused by the manifestation of a virus. The virus is commonly picked up at damp places where lots of people gather. Typical places these viruses are picked up include beach bathrooms, pool locker rooms, and any other common area where there is a wet, damp floor or surface many people use frequently. Once your child’s warts are properly diagnosed, treating them is simple and important. The most crucial part of wart treatment is keeping the area clean and dry. This is because warts thrive most in moist, warm environments. When the moisture is removed, warts will cease to grow and the body can begin removing the virus from the area. Wart removal creams can also be applied to speed up the healing process.