Children's Foot Problems: Assessment and Treatment


 

Children's Feet and Why They Have Problems


Children's feet are susceptible to many different foot problems.

This is because your children's feet are growing quickly and undergoing rapid change.

One of the simplest ways to prevent children's foot problems is to ensure that your child wears appropriate footwear from an early age.

This will help improve their gait, foot posture and help reduce the possibility of future injuries.

Many foot problems that are common with children can be simply dealt with by making adjustments to sleeping positions, stretching or adding padding to footwear to provide support.
 

Common Issues with Children's Feet


If you see any of the following signs with your children's feet: it may be worth having your child assessed by a Podiatrist.

  • Flat Feet
    Once the foot has completely developed, the muscles and ligaments of your foot will form an arch. Between 0 and 2 years your child's feet will appear flat, this is normal in a young child due to developing muscles and bones.

    When your child begins walking, muscles and bones will strengthen and help form a higher arch. Your child should have developed an arch in both feet by around the age of 5.
     
  • In-Toeing
    Many toddlers appear to be walking like they are 'pigeon-toed', or have feet that turn inwards. In most cases, this is a normal part of your child's developing posture and alignment. This should start to naturally straighten between the ages of 3 and 5.

    However, if you notice that the in-toeing seems to involve the leg and hip as well as the foot, or you can't see any visible signs of improvement by age 5, you should see a Podiatrist for assessment. The underlying cause could be coming from the hips which may need further investigation.
     
  • Severs and Heel Pain
    Severs is a painful bone disorder that is caused by inflammation of the growth plates in the heel. This is quite a common condition in children, especially those who are more physically active.

    Severs usually occurs during the adolescent 'growth spurts', between the ages of 8 and 13 for girls and 10 and 15 for boys. Other conditions that can increase the likelihood of Severs include a pronated foot, short leg(one shorter than the other) or rapid growth. It is important to remember not all heel pain in adolescence is severs and there can be other causes which should be ruled out by a Podiatrist.
     

How do Podiatrists assess Children's Foot Problems?


Finding the cause of your child's foot concern requires detailed assessment by your Podiatrist.

This will include:

  • a thorough birth and developmental history;
  • history of symptoms;
  • full biomechanical assessment (including gait that is age appropriate);
  • neurological assessment (nervous system); and
  • footwear assessment.

By conducting a thorough assessment of your child's feet, your Podiatrist can ensure that a suitable treatment plan is provided.

Our Podiatrist can evaluate and remedy children's foot concerns including ingrown toenails, warts, arch pain and knee pain.

Where appropriate, our Podiatrists can prescribe appropriate footwear and orthotics, to suit your child's feet and activities.

It is important to note that not all children's foot concerns require intervention.

Some conditions children can grow out of, but to be on the safe side, it's appropriate to have a qualified Podiatrist monitor.

 

 

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Dr Leah WatersWritten by Leah Waters

Leah Waters is a Melbourne Podiatrist and founder of Pivotal Podiatry Clinic. A Melbourne based Podiatry Clinic.

You can find Leah on
Google+ and Facebook. Make an appointment call (03) 9939 3339.