Your child’s feet are the foundation that will carry them through their lives. That’s why it is so important to ensure that foundation is developing correctly.
Young feet are at a critical point while they grow. Discovering any potential conditions or abnormalities now will help prevent them from becoming more serious or painful problems in the future.
It might be difficult, and you might come up with plenty of excuses to put it off, but one thing we wish to encourage you to do is never forgo an appointment. Never hesitate to contact us whenever you have questions about foot care for your child.
There are plenty of times growing feet may show signs of abnormality, and we want to be able to guide you through which ones are nothing to worry about and which ones might need a closer look.
Just a little time can result peace of mind, as well as a healthier future!
First Steps: What if My Child is Walking Strangely?
A baby’s first steps are always a momentous occasion, but we know they can also be one tinged with natural, parental worry as well. This can be especially true if you start to see signs of gait problems as your child grows more active.
There are several different types of gait abnormalities that can become present during this stage of development.
Your child’s toes may turn inward (in-toeing) or outward (out-toeing). They might spend a lot of their time walking only on their tip toes as well.
In other cases – usually as they get a little bit older, after learning to walk – you might see bow legs or knock knees.
When should you see us? In the majority of these cases, a child will grow out of a gait abnormality. It’s just a part of growing up and developing.
However, signs of these abnormalities past 2 years of age may be a concern. We recommend an examination as this could be a sign of an underlying issue.
What if My Child Has Flat Feet?
A newborn will almost always have flat feet. The arch that defines the shape of the bottom of the foot doesn’t tend to develop until later in life—sometimes up to 8 years of age.
When a child walks, you can often see how a developing arch appears and disappears, based on whether they are standing, lying down, or rising on their toes.
When should you see us? Pediatric flatfoot is not something to cause you worry early on.
Most cases will disappear by 8 years of age. If flatfoot persists after this age, however, or has been causing pain or stiffness at any point in life, it’s time to give us a call.
What If My Child Has Warts on Their Feet?
Plantar warts seem to be another common “badge of honor” in many childhoods.
This kind of wart is caused by a virus infecting the skin of the feet, causing bumpy growths along the surface. Usually, this virus is picked up when a child walks barefoot in an area of exposure.
(This is the same for athlete’s foot, too. That’s why we recommend shower shoes in places like public pools and locker rooms!)
When should you see us? The good news is that plantar warts can often be harmless.
The bad news is that sometimes they can be bothersome or painful, also they can take a very long time to disappear, and many over-the-counter treatments available can harm tender skin.
We recommend coming to see us for any case of plantar warts so we can provide safe and effective treatment.
What If My Child Gets an Ingrown Toenail?
You might think of it more as an adult problem, but children are prone to suffering from ingrown toenails as well.
Just as with adults, this condition can be caused by tight shoes pressing against the nails, or could even be more likely due to simple heredity. In other words, if you get ingrown toenails often, your child might as well.
When should you see us? A mild ingrown toenail can often be treated by soaking your child’s foot in warm water and Epsom salts for 20 minutes, two times per day. During the soak, you can try gently massaging the swollen part of your child’s cuticle outward from the nail.
If this treatment doesn’t seem to show any improvement, or your child is experiencing excessive swelling, severe pain, or oozing pus, it is best to give us a call. More advanced treatment might be necessary, and we also want to treat a potential infection if one has developed.
These are only a few of the possible foot and ankle conditions children can face, of course.
The guidelines for the rest, and really for anytime you have a concern, is to give us a call whenever you have questions or need help. If your child does need treatment for a gait abnormality, sports injury or other problem of the foot and ankle, we will discuss the best courses of action fully with you.
Call our Berkley office at (510) 647-3744 to schedule an appointment with us, or please feel free to fill out our contact form online.