Here at Texas Foot and Ankle Center, we take great pride in providing effective lower limb care for patients of all ages from our community—and this is especially true when it comes to the care and treatment we provide for your children!
You want your kids to be happy and heathy, right? Well, feet play a big role in both of those. It’s probably easier to think about how they relate to health, but don’t discount the fact that children use their lower limbs to move around and do the things they enjoy doing.
Now, there are several common child foot problems we see on a frequent basis, but you will likely be relieved to know that they are often successfully resolved without the need for surgical intervention.
Proper Footwear for Children
In addition to other prevention methods, it is important to provide children with properly-fitting footwear.
When shopping with your child for footwear, buy shoes that fit right away and avoid making the common mistake of adopting a “they’ll stretch out” mentality. To help understand what’s entailed with a proper fit, make sure your son or daughter’s toes have room to wiggle and there is about a thumb’s width of space between the longest toe and the front of the shoe. Also, the heel needs to be firmly cradled and you should be able to slide your index finger down to the second knuckle in the back when the shoes are laced.
Along with having a proper fit, kids’ shoes need to be activity-appropriate, constructed from durable material, and provide arch support and sufficient cushioning.
Common Foot Problems for Kids
Your child’s foot arches play important roles in absorbing physical shock and keeping feet moving forward when they walk and run. Accordingly, an issue like flat feet (low arches) can potentially lead to an array of problems like arch pain, fatigue, and foot pain. These kinds of issues can keep a child from performing favorite activities—and make them even more reluctant to do necessary ones.
The good news about this problem is that we can often address it effectively with orthotic therapy. Orthotics are medical inserts your child will slip into his or her shoes. Once in there, they reposition the foot, thereby supporting the arches and placing them at a more normal height.
Sports and Band Injuries
Many children tend to be quite active, and that’s always a good thing. At the same time, there’s always an inherent degree of injury risk with sports and other physical activities—including band (which requires a lot of time spent on feet!).
Due to their role in most of those activities, feet and ankles have a particularly high amount of injury risk. With regards to possible sports injuries kids can (and do!) sustain, we’re talking about things like ankle sprains, turf toe, and bone fractures.
Fortunately, we’re typically able to treat the majority of injuries like these with nonsurgical care!
For various reasons, kids have an increased risk of developing plantar warts. These warts grow on the bottom of feet, are transmitted by the common human papillomavirus (HPV), and can be rather contagious.
Even though they’re generally harmless and will go away in time, warts are embarrassing, can cause discomfort when on the sole of the foot, and may take up to a couple of years to completely disappear. We are proud to provide safe, easy wart removal services for your children (and any other members of your family!).
Children can be particularly susceptible to ingrown toenails on account of their growing feet. Because their feet grow so rapidly, shoes can become tight pretty quickly. When shoes are tight, toes are crowded in the front, which presents the opportunity and likelihood that nails will start to grow into the soft flesh flanking them.
Another source of ingrown nails, though, stems from trimming practices. If you clip your child’s nails too short, or rounded, it increases the risk of them becoming ingrown.
This is a problem many individuals face, but when it comes to children and adolescents, the most common source is a condition called Sever’s disease.
Now, there’s no need to worry—this isn’t actually a disease. Instead, Sever’s is a condition that develops when the heel bone reaches physical maturity faster than the Achilles tendon does. This causes a pulling on the back of the heel bone, which is especially painful for your growing child either during or immediately following physical activity.
Treatment is centered on managing heel pain, as the condition goes away once the Achilles tendon finishes its growth process.
Bunions are commonly associated with women’s footwear, but the truth of the matter is that they are often the result of an inherited foot condition. This means children can develop bunions, just like adults can.
It is important to start treating a juvenile bunion at the earliest opportunity, since an untreated bunion will progressively worsen. Surgery is the only way to completely correct a bunion, but we do not perform bunion surgery until the patient is older and bones are no longer growing. In the meantime, we have conservative treatment options that can slow (or possibly even stop) bunion progression.
Complete Child Foot Care
There are measures you can take to aid in your child’s foot care. Make sure your child has activity-appropriate footwear that fits correctly. Get your son or daughter in the habit of a regular stretching program for his or her lower limbs. Always clip your child’s toenails straight across and keep them roughly even with the edge of the toes.
For more information on child foot care, or to request an appointment for your son or daughter, simply give Texas Foot and Ankle Center a call at (214) 660-0777. You can also use our online request form to schedule an appointment with our Dallas, TX podiatrist office right now.
Doctor's Professional Building 1
1151 N. Buckner Boulevard, Suite 201
Dallas, TX 75218
Monday - Friday
8:00AM - 5:00PM
Closed for Lunch
12:00PM - 1:00PM