Some people assume that because children’s feet are “newer” and haven’t experienced as much stress, they have fewer problems than their adult counterparts. However, young feet are subject to many of the same podiatric issues as adults, as well as a few that are specific to their stage of development and level of activity.
Are you concerned about your child’s growing feet? Here’s what you need to know about common children’s foot conditions, including how regular visits with a skilled specialist at Massapequa Podiatry Associates can help your children’s feet look and feel their best.
Flat Feet and Fallen Arches
Also known as pes planus or flexible flatfoot, this condition is common among toddlers and very young children whose feet are developing rapidly. Characterized by an arch that disappears when the child stands but reappears when they sit or lift their foot, flexible flatfoot usually resolves on its own. However, if arches haven’t developed by age 5, the issue could be due to a congenital deformity. Whatever the cause, it’s important to see a podiatrist for evaluation and treatment. Observation, orthotics, or arch supports are typical first-line therapies.
Plantar warts are non-cancerous growths that develop on the soles of the feet in response to the human papillomavirus (HPV) getting through tiny cuts or cracks in the skin. The virus, which thrives in warm, moist environments, causes growths with a cauliflower-like texture that are often mistaken for corns or calluses. However, plantar warts have telltale black dots at their center, called wart seeds, that are actually capillary clots.
Plantar warts are highly contagious and extremely persistent. Without professional treatment, the virus can last for years, with the warts returning again and again and, in some cases, becoming painful or growing inward. Children are particularly susceptible to plantar warts. Treatment options include prescription-strength blistering agents, topical acids, creams, or injections designed to stimulate your child’s natural immune response.
When the edges of a child’s toenail grow into the surrounding skin, irritation and infection can result. Ingrown toenails are particularly common among children and teenagers and are often caused by wearing poorly-fitting shoes. Our podiatrists can help relieve pain and discomfort associated with ingrown toenails, treat infections, and offer advice on how to prevent them from coming back.
Heel pain is common in children and adolescents and can have many causes, including overuse or sports injuries such as plantar fasciitis and a condition called Sever's disease, which affects the growth plate at the back of the heel. Depending on the cause and severity of the heel pain, treatment options may include taking a break from activities that place stress on the heel bone, stretching and strengthening the Achilles tendon and calf muscles, supporting the heel with orthotics, medication for pain relief, and immobilization of the foot and ankle.
In-Toeing and Out-Toeing
When toddlers are first learning to walk, you may notice their toes pointing inward or outward (known as in-toeing or out-toeing). This typically isn’t cause for concern. However, if the problem persists past age 3 or 4 or causes pain, discomfort, regular tripping or falling, or makes it difficult for your child to participate in physical activities with other kids, there are treatments that can help. Depending on the underlying cause and the severity of the condition, treatment options may include orthotics, stretching and strengthening exercises, footwear changes, or braces.
Complete Podiatry Care for Children’s Feet
Making sure that your children’s feet are growing and developing appropriately can set them on a path to lifelong health. If your child is experiencing pain or discomfort, you’ve noticed something unusual about their gait, or you’re concerned about another podiatric issue, Massapequa Podiatry Associates’ knowledgeable and experienced specialists can help.
Call our office at 516-541-9000, or complete the online contact form to schedule an appointment with Dr. Corey Fox or Dr. Justin LoBello. If you have questions about foot or ankle injuries, browse our FAQs.