At Gentle Professional Foot Care, although we see children with many of the same podiatric problems that adults have, there are certain types of foot and ankle disorders that are more prevalent in our younger patients because of their developing feet and their lifestyle. Below are some factors that affect the podiatric health of children:
Hygiene—let’s face it, for most children hygiene is not a top priority. They are always on the go and looking to run off the next opportunity for fun. It’s important to teach children early on to care for their feet by washing them daily with soap and water and drying them completely. Tell children not to pick or pull off toenails, but rather to come to a parent if they have a jagged nail that needs to be trimmed. Also, they should not go barefoot in public places or share shoes, socks, flip flops or other items that touch the feet with their friends. These simple steps will eliminate a lot of cases of athlete’s foot, warts, fungal toenails and ingrown toenails.
Overdoing It with Sports—children and parents these days are sometimes guilty of being overly enthusiastic sports participants. Rigorous practice and game schedules begin at ever younger ages and can have a negative effect on developing bones, joints and muscles. Conditions such as Sever’s Disease—an inflammation of the growth plate in the heel that normally occurs in children ages 8-14—is directly correlated to repetitive and excessive pounding of the heel during sports. Children’s feet (and the rest of their bodies) need rest during the season and for longer periods between seasons as well.
Inability to Articulate—one of the statements that our podiatrist, Dr. Charles A. Suleskey, hears from parents when their child is diagnosed with a foot disorder is that they had no idea until their child complained of pain that there was a problem. Children, especially younger ones are not always good at articulating foot discomfort. Look for other clues such as a funny-looking walk or run and the lack of interest in participating in sports and other physical activities they have previously enjoyed.
Fast Growing Feet—how often it happens that even within a couple of months a child’s shoe size will increase. Wearing shoes that are too tight and squeeze the toes together can result in a number of foot problems both minor and more serious, so check often to see that the shoes your child is wearing fit properly.
Most of all, take a child’s complaint of foot pain seriously. Never encourage them to “play through pain.” Make an appointment at our Venice office to get an evaluation by calling: 941-493-7999.