Why you should not ignore Foot Problems in Children
Is your child taking the right steps?
Children’s feet differ from adult feet mainly because they are made up of cartilage and are constantly growing.
It is important to understand that children may have foot problems but are still too young to vocalise their pain or discomfort; therefore resulting in the problem being unintentionally overlooked and in the long term resulting in foot or lower limb damage.
Common foot and lower limb conditions
Lower limb and foot problems are common in children and therefore should be treated as soon as they are detected to avoid further damage. It is recommended to have your child’s feet evaluated by a podiatrist yearly.
Parents should look out for abnormal walking and limping on a regular basis. Common signs to look out for include walking on their toes, in and out-toeing, knock knees or bow-legs. Parents should also lookout for overlapping or underlying toes which can be signs of abnormality, injury or a biomechanical problem.
Other problems include flat feet or fallen arches which require a podiatrist to be seen as soon as possible to prevent further damage.
Understanding your child’s feet
Young feet and legs are growing and forming and are susceptible to growing pains. Many injuries occur when they play or stand for long periods especially on hard surfaces. Therefore it is best for children to wear flip flops around the pool and shower in public areas to prevent fungal infections, warts and athlete’s foot.
Ingrown toenails are also common and can be very painful and should be treated as soon as possible by a podiatrist. Excessive sweating and smelly feet are regular problems and can cause embarrassment for children making them unlikely to participate in activities that require them to take their shoes off.
How to take care of your child’s feet
Parents should inspect their children’s feet regularly and any complaints from the child should be taken seriously. Allow them to walk barefoot on sand, grass and carpets as this stimulates muscle activity and development. Allow them to kick freely so that normal muscle development can occur.
It is important to learn how to cut nails correctly and take care of young hands and feet. It is important to buy shoes that fit properly and are comfortable in early childhood as it may prevent problems in adulthood.
If pains lumps or bumps occur and persist parents should not hesitate to seek advice from a podiatrist.