Your children's growing feet get a lot of use. Your kids spend a lot of time on their feet, and a lot of it at high speeds. This is great. Lots of exercise is good for kids physically and mentally. But encouraging your kids to be active is hard when their feet hurt. Keep in mind these common foot problems seen in children and youth so you'll know what you're dealing with.
First of all, don't ignore signs that your child may be having a foot problem. Children injure themselves often, but serious or ongoing problems should cause concern. If you notice your child limping often this may be a sign that they are experiencing foot pain. Look for other signs of abnormal walking, like walking only on their toes, an abnormal gate, in-toeing, out-toeing, or a turning in or out of the knees. These can all be signs of injury or biomechanical problems. If your child complains about pain often or severe pain, you should make an appointment with the podiatrist.
Many children experience an over-use problem with their feet. They are have problems like stress fractures or plantar fasciitis which come from extended use of the feet or a lot of contact with hard surfaces. If your child is involved in sports or is very active, be on the look out for these conditions and other signs of overuse.
The second category of foot problems children and youth experience is biomechanical problems. These are problems which have to do with the alignment or construction of the feet. Since young feet are still growing and forming (like all parts of a growing body) they are susceptible to problems like flat feet or fallen arches. These problems can cause a lot of pain. Often if the problem is corrected (like with an orthotic) while the child is growing, their bones and tendons will form correctly and result in a normal adult foot.
The last type of problem is dermatological, or problems with the skin. Young people are more susceptible to fungal problems of the nails or skin. They often get plantar warts or athlete's foot. Children should be cautious as breaks in the skin can make them more susceptible to these problems. Also, places that are warm, dark, and wet are good places for fungi to grow. Children and youth should wear flip flops in in pool or school (and other community) showers. Often, they only have one pair of shoes, since they outgrow them so fast. A child with fungal problems should be rotating two pair of shoes, so that they have time to dry out completely before being worn again. They may also benefit from foot powder to help absorb the moisture in their shoes.
Young people have many similar conditions to consider to adults when it comes to foot care. But they have specific problems as well. Luckily, podiatrists are trained to deal with the specific needs of pediatric as well as adult foot care. If you or your child notice a foot problem, simply make an appointment and we will be happy to get them feeling normal and back to their daily activities.