Posts for tag: children's foot problems
Flatfoot is common in both children and adults. When this deformity occurs in children, it is referred to as "pediatric flatfoot". Although there are various forms of flatfoot, they all share one characteristic- partial or total collapse of the arch.
Pediatric flatfoot can be classified as symptomatic or asymptomatic. Symptomatic flatfeet exhibit symptoms such as pain and limitation of activity, while asymptomatic flatfeet show no symptoms. These classifications can assist your foot and ankle surgeon in determining an appropriate treatment plan.
Flatfoot can be apparent at birth or it may not show up until years later. Most children with flatfoot have no symptoms, but some have one or more of the following symptoms:
- Pain, tenderness, or cramping in the foot, leg, and knee
- Outward tilting of the heel
- Awkwardness or changes in walking
- Difficulty with shoes
- Reduced energy when participating in physical activities
- Voluntary withdrawal from physical activities
In diagnosing flatfoot, the foot and ankle surgeon examines the foot and observes how it looks when the child stands and sits. The surgeon also observes how the child walks and evaluates the range of motion of the foot. Because flatfoot is sometimes related to problems in the leg, the surgeon may also examine the knee and hip.
X-rays are often taken to determine the severity of the deformity. Sometimes additional imaging and other tests are ordered.
If a child has no symptoms, treatment is often not required. Instead the condition will be observed and re-evaluated periodically by the foot and ankle surgeon. Custom orthotic devices may be considered for some cases of asymptomatic flatfoot.
When the child has symptoms, treatment is required. The foot and ankle surgeon may select one or more of the following non-surgical approaches:
- Activity modifications. The child needs to temporarily decrease activities that bring pain as well as avoid prolonged walking or standing.
- Orthotic devices. The foot and ankle surgeon can provide custom orthotic devices that fit inside the shoe to support the structure of the foot and improve function.
- Physical therapy. Stretching exercises, supervised by the foot and ankle surgeon or a physical therapist, provide relief in some cases of flatfoot.
- Medications. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, may be recommended to help reduce pain and inflammation.
- Shoe modification. The foot and ankle surgeon will advise you on footwear characteristics that are important for the child with flatfoot.
In some cases, surgery is necessary to relieve the symptoms and improve foot function. The surgical procedure or combination of procedures selected for your child will depend on his or her type of flatfoot and degree of deformity.
If you believe have a foot problem and do not currently see a podiatrist, call one of our six locations to make an appointment.
Connecticut Foot Care Centers
Podiatrists in CT
Foot and ankle problems in children often go unnoticed. Signs and symptoms can be subtle, and sometimes children can't explain what's wrong. But it's important to protect growing feet and have problems checked out early. If your child shows any of the following symptoms, make an appointment with our office for an examination:
- Your child can't keep up with their peers. We've found that if a child lags behind in sports or backyard play, it may be because of tired feet or legs. Fatigue is common when children have flat feet. The muscles in the feet and legs tire easily because the feet are not functioning as well as they should.
- Children voluntarily withdraw from activities they usually enjoy. If they are reluctant to participate, it may be due to heel pain- a problem we often see in children between the ages of 8 and 14. Repetitive stress from sports may cause muscle strain and inflammation of the growth plate, a weak area at the back of a child's heel.
- They don't want to show you their feet. Children may feel pain or notice a change in the appearance of feet and nails but don't tell their parents because they fear a trip to the doctor's office. Make it a habit to inspect your child's feet starting at a young age. Any changes, such as calluses, growths, skin discoloration, or redness and swelling around the toenails warrants a visit to the podiatrist's office.
- Your child often trips and falls. Repeated clumsiness may be a sign of in-toeing, balance problems, or neurological conditions. We can evaluate your child's feet and legs to help determine the cause of the problem.
- Your child complains of pain. Remember, it is never normal for a child to have foot pain. Injuries may seem minor, but if pain or swelling lasts more than a few days, have your child's foot examined.
If your child has a foot problem, call one of our six locations to make an appointment.
Connecticut Foot Care Centers
Podiatrists in CT