As an adult, it’s easy to feel that children’s feet are not something you have to worry so much about. They’re practically brand new compared to yours, right? They still need to gather more mileage!
But, as you might have learned through the experience of owning a car, just because something is newer doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t experience any problems. For children’s foot care, that can mean many of the same types of problems adult feet face, as well as problems that can arise as feet grow and develop.
And, just like with a car, paying proper attention to your children’s feet and making sure problems are addressed can help ensure they keep running throughout their lives.
What to Watch for in Growing Feet
Little feet grow quickly, but caring for them can mean more than making sure they’re supplied with properly fitting shoes a few times each year.
As children’s feet develop, you might see abnormal forms of standing and walking. These can include:
- Walking with toes pointed inward (in-toeing) or outward (out-toeing).
- Walking for extended periods on tiptoe.
- Having arches that vanish when standing, but reappear when sitting or rising on their toes.
The good news is that, in most cases, these abnormalities tend to resolve themselves as your child ages. They can be a natural part of foot structure and motor skills forming.
That being said, it is still worth it to keep periodic track of these types of conditions to make sure there are no underlying causes or concerns. Arches that disappear entirely, for example, might need to be addressed—and the sooner they are, the better it will likely be for your child as their feet mature and become rigid.
Two treatment options we offer that are particularly beneficial for pediatric flatfoot conditions are custom orthotic therapy and HyProCure. Both work to improve foot positioning–including providing support for foot arches–in different ways:
- Custom orthotics are prescription shoe inserts that correct foot position and motion externally (outside the body). They slide easily into your child’s shoes and can provide arch support your son or daughter isn’t receiving naturally.
- HyProCure is an advanced treatment that adjusts foot structure with the help of a (completely safe and painless) titanium stent placed into a specific space between foot bones. This is done through a minimally invasive procedure, which means faster healing times and less pain for your child than “traditional” surgeries.
Other Things to Watch for in Young Feet
Whenever other problems arise in your children’s feet, we are always here to help. Conditions that tend to be common in youth include:
- Ingrown toenails, often due to toes being crowded by shoes that quickly become too small.
- Plantar warts, as children may not have acquired as strong an immunity to the virus that causes them.
- Heel pain, especially in kids ages 7-14 who are active.
- Sports injuries such as stress fractures, ankle sprains, and Achilles tendinitis.
Among conditions that are less common but still worth watching for are bunions. Yes, juvenile bunions are a real condition, and catching the development of bunions early can be extremely helpful in preventing them from causing pain and discomfort in adulthood.
Foot Care for All Ages
Whether childhood or adulthood, the sooner feet and ankles get the treatment they need, the better!