There’s no doubt about it — children grow quickly! One area of the body that develops and transforms are your child’s feet. They change so much that each foot develops additional bones between birth and age 5.
Your child’s feet are a critical part of them, and keeping them healthy can help them stay healthier overall. To help you understand what’s normal and what’s not when it comes to your little one’s feet, the team of expert podiatrists at Ankle & Foot Associates has put together this handy cheat sheet.
With 16 locations across Georgia and South Carolina, our team is here to answer any questions or concerns you have and ensure that your child has healthy feet for life!
Pediatric foot development
Since the feet go through so many changes in the first years of life, it’s crucial to make sure they develop healthily. This helps protect your child from developing other foot, ankle, and leg issues as they grow.
In the first year, your baby’s feet aren’t designed to carry their weight, and doing this too much can impact how their feet develop. As your baby’s feet grow into toddler’s feet, watch how your child walks and look out for any issues like walking toe-to-heel, walking pigeon-toe, or struggling to stand.
Common pediatric foot troubles
Children share many common foot problems, and some require medical attention. For example, pediatric flatfoot is a deformity involving a full or partial collapse of the foot’s arch.
Children without symptoms associated with pediatric flatfoot should have an evaluation but may not require treatment. However, if your child has problematic symptoms, they may require nonsurgical treatments, such as orthotics or physical therapy (In rare cases, surgery is the best treatment for pediatric flatfoot).
Pediatric flatfoot symptoms that require attention include:
- Pain, soreness, tenderness, or cramping (in the foot, knee, or leg)
- Difficulty with footwear
- Heels that tilt outward
- Problems with walking (e.g., awkward gait)
Children with pediatric flatfoot may also complain they have less energy or less interest in playing physical games or sports.
There are other foot issues children face. If your child has pain or irritation that lasts more than a few days or changes the way they walk, seek help. Other foot troubles to look out for include:
- Plantar warts
- Ingrown toenails
- Inflammation in the heel growth plate (Sever’s Disease)
- Athlete’s foot
- Blisters and calluses
Be sure to seek evaluation for pediatric foot problems from a podiatrist who works with children and understands the unique needs of developing feet.
Foot health for whole health
Children who have healthy feet grow into healthier adults since the bone structure in their feet is developed by 7 or 8. However, since their feet are still growing, injuries to the growth plate (the softer area where bone growth starts) can cause lasting bone problems if not treated by a pediatric podiatrist.
Because kids’ feet can grow quickly, be sure to check their shoe size, making sure there’s enough room for their toes to move and between the end of the shoe and their toes. Avoid hand-me-down shoes for best shoe health, and if your child encounters any foot problems, bring them to a podiatrist for a prompt evaluation.
If you have more questions about your child’s feet, don’t hesitate to speak with a foot specialist. The team at Ankle & Foot Associates, LLC, is happy to answer your questions and create a customized treatment plan if necessary to ensure your child’s lifelong foot health.
Contact the Ankle & Foot Associates, LLC, office nearest you in Southeast Georgia or South Carolina, and schedule a consultation today!