Parents are worriers—it comes with the job! We worry about our children’s eating habits, speech development, eyes, ears—just about everything. We worry about our children’s feet too, especially if they display any signs that are out of the ordinary. Those feet that are still developing have to carry the body’s entire weight for a lifetime. Also, many adult foot problems have their origins in childhood and are present at birth. Taking good care of your child’s feet with good foot care and regular professional attention can help minimize these issues.
Watch for These Baby Foot Deformities
Early intervention and treatment of foot deformities may provide a permanent solution. While there is no reason for alarm, the following conditions in your baby should be brought to a doctor’s attention:
- Congenital clubfoot. With this condition, the newborn’s foot is twisted and can resemble the top of a golf club. Left untreated, a clubfoot will cause arthritis and an inability to walk normally. Treatment begins immediately and includes progressive stretching and casting as well as surgery.
- Metatarsus adductus. Here the front half of the foot will turn inward. This deformity often corrects itself as the child ages but starting treatment soon after birth improves the child’s prognosis. Children with this condition are at an increased risk for developmental dysplasia of the hip.
- Pediatric flatfoot. Infant feet normally look flat because of a pad of fat in the arch area, and because their foot and leg muscles can’t yet support the arch. If the child’s foot still appears flat by age 5, consult a podiatrist. Flexible flatfoot, where the arch disappears when standing but reappears when sitting, is usually outgrown as the arch shapes itself. However, rigid flatfoot can present with pain and cramping, heels that tilt outward, and pain when walking.
If you have any concerns about your child’s feet, do not hesitate to contact one of our convenient offices. Our podiatrists love kids and will make them feel welcome and comfortable.
Symptoms of Potential Foot Problems in Older Children
As your child begins school and starts becoming active in sports, watch for these signs that could indicate a foot problem:
- Complaining of foot pain. Pain is not normal, especially if there is swelling present and the pain persists beyond a brief time.
- Cannot keep up while playing or participating in sports. Fatigue is common in those who have flat feet because the feet and leg muscles aren’t properly functioning.
- Withdrawing from activities. Heel pain can cause children to sit out of activities that they usually enjoy. Repetitive stress can strain muscles and lead to inflammation of the growth plate.
- Hiding their feet. Children may fear a trip to the doctor’s office if they feel pain or see changes in their feet or toenails.
- Tripping and falling. Frequent clumsiness may be a sign of balance or neuromuscular conditions or in-toeing.
Stay alert to the health of your child’s feet. Check feet regularly for anything unusual including calluses, redness, growths, and swelling around the toenails.
We Welcome Patients of All Ages
Whether your baby has a minor foot deformity or your young athlete has a foot or ankle injury, our podiatrists are prepared to treat them. We want to help you get your children off on the right foot in life, and early podiatric intervention may be just the way to do it. We offer payment plans and accept most health insurance programs, so don’t hesitate to ask us about options. Call us at (856) 582-6082 to schedule an appointment in Sewell, Mt. Holly, Cherry Hill, Marlton, Glassboro, or Woodbury.