Foot and ankle issues are extremely common in children. Their growing bodies need to be looked after from time to time. Health is something we as parents need to take on board seriously. Have you ever had your child’s feet and legs checked? If you would take them to the Dentist to look after their teeth, why aren’t you taking your child to an accredited Foot and Leg expert to have their feet and legs checked?
While some issues are hereditary, the types of things that are handed down from Mum’s and Dad’s to their children like being flat footed. That’s not all. Children go through many important developmental stages as their feet and legs mature. These stages are referred to as ‘age for stage’ and mark important stages your child should be achieving as they grow and change. Their developing bones and joints respond to how they are loaded. They start out like little blocks of almost clear mouldable cartilage or mesenchyme bone. This type of almost mouldable bone is very special. As we load it, we will influence how well it ultimately matures and develops. Many of the difficult conditions we treat in our adult clients could have been prevented had we examined them as children. Ultimately, we all want our children to grow into active and healthy adults. If you are worried that there is a hereditary problem in your family or if your child’s feet and legs appear different to other children their age then put your mind at ease and please ask one of our expert team to take a look at them. We can give you a very quick and accurate assessment of how well your child is developing and where they sit in the ‘age for stage’ scales and a good idea of what the future can hold for their developing feet and legs.
Many of the issues we treat in our 10-18yr old clients are due to strain or injury in physical activities and sports. Foot and leg injury are often overlooked or mistake for growing pains. Any lasting pain or injury to the feet and legs during their developmental stages will often behave in unusual ways. Worsening pain after the physical activity and pain at rest in the feet, ankles, shins, knees, thighs should be addressed as soon as possible.
Parents should look out for things like ankles rolling in more than other children, aches and pains especially after sports. Limping, tripping and difficulty running well are also signs there may be some concerns.
As Podiatrists, we know it’s important to keep an eye out for foot or ankle problems that your child may have and to make sure the right precautions are taken.
Parents should also be aware of other foot issues that can affect children, including:
Flat Feet: Are common and hereditary condition that can affect walking, balance and physical stability. Flat feet can correct itself as the muscles strengthen and the softer tissues stiffen, however if the flat foot persists it can cause pain later in life due to tightness in the calf muscles.
In-Toeing (Pigeon Toes): Is when a child’s feet turn inward instead of pointing straight ahead, causing the child to not be able to walk and run properly. Commonly In-toeing goes away without any treatment, however in some cases treatment is needed as self-correction does not occur.
Severs Disease: Commonly found in boys more than girls and between the ages 8-14, Severs disease is when the heel bone of a child’s foot rolls either inwards or outwards more than it should creating stress on the growth plate which can result in pain.
If your child complains of pain or you notice that your child suffers from any of the foot problems above, or if you are just unsure, it is always best to seek medical advice now to reduce future problems.
Even if your child doesn’t have any foot pain or symptoms, it is still recommended that they are evaluated by a Podiatrist. Preferably before they reach five years of age. Early detection of underlying foot problems DO help prevent future adult foot deformities.
Osgood Schlatter disease: Symptoms of Osgood Schlatters disease typically consist of pain at the tibial tuberosity or bony bit at the top of the shin. The tibial tuberosity may become swollen or inflamed and may even become more prominent than normal. Tenderness and pain is worse during and after exercise. The young athlete is likely to experience pain when contracting the quadriceps muscles or performing squat type exercises.
As the young athletes bones grow quickly, it can take some time for the muscles and tendons to catch up. Parents need to be aware that these areas do become inflamed, painful and swollen. This is common plae in younger people because their bones are still soft and are not yet fully grown. It is seen more often in children involved with running, jumping and changing direction.
If you have any concerns and call Podmed Podiatry to book your child’s foot and leg assessment today. We utilize all the latest technology and match it with our easy to talk to, caring and high performaning staff.