Children’s Foot Problems
Foot problems are more pronounced when we get older, but children can also suffer from many similar issues that adults have. At the Mount Joy Foot Clinic & Orthotic Center, we make sure our little people trust us and know that we are looking out for their best interest. Some of the most common pediatric foot problems are listed below.
Pediatric flat foot
Pediatric flat foot is common in children and involves the partial or full collapse of the arch. Flat foot in children is symptomatic or asymptomatic. Symptoms of flat foot in children include pain in the feet, legs and or knees, outward tilting of the heels, cramping, reduced energy and avoiding physical activities. A biomechanical exam and gait analysis will help diagnose pediatric flat foot. Conservative treatment of flat foot in children included custom orthotics, supportive footwear, exercise and stretching, activity modification and physical therapy (when pain is present).
Plantar warts are a viral infection of the skin. Plantar warts are the most common foot problem we see in our clinic. Foot warts can get overlooked by children. Often treatment begins when plantar warts have spread or enlarged. Many parents try home remedies for plantar warts that usually fail and can be quite expensive. Foot warts are contagious and need treatment promptly. Warts have characteristic black dots in the centre, distinguishing them from corns or callus. Treatment options for plantar warts include prescription, silver nitrate, acid treatments, cryotherapy (CryoProbe) and dry needling. We now offer Swift microwave treatment for plantar warts. This treatment often requires only a single treatment in children.
Ingrown toenails happen when children begin cutting their toenails independently, especially in teenagers. Ingrown toenails occur when leaving behind a sharp corner of the toenail, and it breaks into the skin, allowing bacteria to infect the toe. Younger children may have a habit of peeling their nails or biting their nails, which can also cause ingrown nails. If not treated promptly, ingrown toenails can become very painful and make it difficult for children to be active. Early intervention for ingrown toenails is conservative. However, surgical options are available for more severe cases.
In-toeing, aka pigeon toes, is the inward position of children's feet when walking. Intoeing may resolve in children with no treatment or intervention. A chiropodist or podiatrist should examine the child if the intoeing is causing tripping, difficulty with activity, pain, trouble fitting into shoes or does not resolve on its own. A chiropodist or podiatrist will help determine the source of intoeing and start early intervention with orthotic therapy, home exercises and stretching recommendations.
Toe walking is when your child walks on balls of their feet and no contact of the heel to the ground. After two years of age, however, most children's toe walking will disappear and begin planting their heels. Toe walking after the two years may be a sign of an underlying medical condition. In most toe walkers, the reason remains unknown. Older children who toe walk do it habitually or because their muscles and tendons have become tighter (e.g. calves, hamstrings). Some children who toe walk have no specific complaints, but parents are still concerned about the impact their walking pattern may have on their future function as teenagers and adults. Chiropodists and podiatrists can evaluate children that do not outgrow toe walking to consider treatment options.
Sever's disease (Calcaneal apophysitis)
Sever's disease is a painful inflammation of the growth plate on the back of the heel. Children between 8 to 14 years of age are most often affected. Calcaneal apophysitis is the most common cause of heel pain in children. Overuse and stress from participating in sports (soccer, basketball, track and field) occurs from repeated running and pounding on hard surfaces. Poor biomechanics (flat feet, high arches), obesity and a tight Achilles tendon are potential causes of this disorder.
Symptoms often include pain at the back of the heel, limping, toe walking and reduced activity. Treatment for sever's disease involves reduced exercise, heel lifts, custom orthotics, anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy (stretching, light therapy) and less often immobilization.