As a parent, you’re probably aware of many of the important factors in your child’s cognitive and physical growth. But did you know that your child’s foot health is also an important part of their development? With the amount of running, jumping, sports, and other activities they do, children’s feet can take a beating! It’s important to monitor a few key aspects of your child’s foot health to ensure their foot and ankle bones and joints are developing properly as they grow bigger. Here are a few key things to watch out for as you care for your child’s feet.
Children Gait Problems
As your child learns to walk, you may notice them exhibiting some unusual behaviors. In small children, gait problems usually include in-toeing, or walking with the toes pointed inward, and out-toeing—walking with the toes pointed outward. In other cases, you might notice toe-walking, which is when your child walks primarily on their toes or the balls of their feet. While these unusual gait patterns may worry you, there’s no need to be alarmed. In most cases, the issue will resolve itself as your child’s bones and foot structure develop. However, if you notice that these gait problems last beyond two years of age, it’s important that you make an appointment to get your child’s feet checked for more serious underlying neuromuscular problems.
Flatfoot In Children
Pediatric flatfoot is quite common in children who are learning to walk since their feet and ankle structure is still forming. In many cases, your toddler might appear to have flatfoot due to the supportive fat pad at the bottom of their feet. This pad offers stability as children learn to walk, and the foot arch is often hidden underneath it. It’s also quite common for children’s arches to not be fully developed until they reach 8 years of age.
Unless your child’s flatfoot is causing them pain, pediatric flatfoot is likely not something to be too worried about. If you have an especially active child who runs a lot or plays sports, flatfoot is more likely to bother them. In these cases, we would evaluate your child’s feet and might recommend custom orthotics to support the feet and relieve pain.
Bunions, which occur when the joint at the base of the big toe pushes away from the foot, are usually thought of as an adult problem. But they can happen in kids too! In children, bunions are usually a result of their genetic foot structure. In addition, pressure on the joint from gait problems like in-toeing might contribute to the development of a bunion. If you notice a bunion forming on your child’s foot, it’s important to get it looked at immediately. Our office can treat the bunion with measures like custom orthotics, night splints, and certain exercises. If the bunion progresses, more serious treatment, like surgery, might be required.
Children’s warts, which often occur on the bottom of the feet, are caused by different bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Plantar warts are often painful and hard to get rid of, so we recommend that your child always wear shoes when playing outside to prevent warts from developing. Over-the-counter wart medications typically contain ingredients that can harm children’s sensitive skin, so we advise that you make an appointment to get the wart taken care of properly.
Children’s Foot Care in Berkeley, CA
Kids often have specialized needs when it comes to foot care. If your child is exhibiting pain or any signs that something is wrong with their feet, call our office at (510) 647-3744 or make an appointment online.