Foot problems can affect people of all ages. While certain foot problems are more common in older adults, pain and discomfort are not normal at any age. An experienced podiatrist can identify the source of your child’s foot, heel, or ankle pain, then create a personalized treatment plan to promote proper growth and development.
Common Pediatric Foot Care Concerns
Grandville Foot and Ankle is well-equipped to treat a wide range of conditions affecting children and teens. Some of the most common pediatric foot concerns we address in our practice include:
- Abnormal gait. It is common for the position of the feet to change during the various stages of a child’s development, but in-toeing or out-toeing that persists may need treatment with specialized shoe inserts, physical therapy, or surgery.
- Ankle sprain. Children can suffer ankle sprains while running and jumping in their backyard or when participating in organized athletics. The injury needs to be immobilized to allow it to heal properly.
- Athlete’s foot. A contagious fungal infection, athlete’s foot can lead to a scaly and itchy rash between the toes and on the soles of the feet. Children often spread athlete’s foot at public swimming pools or locker rooms but sharing towels or shoes with an infected person can also be the culprit.
- Clubfoot. This deformity is immediately apparent when a child is born, as one or both feet will appear twisted. When the deformity is left untreated, a child can experience lifelong pain and difficulty walking.
- Ingrown toenails. Although ingrown toenails can occur at any age, children are vulnerable because they often wear shoes that are too tight or too small. Trimming the nails too short or rounded can also lead to this problem, but a podiatrist can easily address the issue before the nail has a chance to get infected.
- Flat feet. It is normal for toddlers to have flat feet, but children older than five who have flat feet may need to see a podiatrist if they are experiencing pain that interferes with normal daily activities.
- Plantar warts. A form of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), plantar warts are viral growths on the feet that can spread when children share socks, shoes, or towels or touch the wart before touching another person or part of their body.
- Sever’s disease. A common cause of heel pain in children and teens, this condition is characterized by an inflammation of the growth plate in the heel. It is most often found in those who play year-round sports.
Signs Your Child Needs to See a Podiatrist
Since young children are often unable to accurately describe their pain or discomfort, it’s important for parents to be proactive about caring for their foot health. Here are some signs your child needs to be evaluated by a podiatrist:
- Your child is complaining of foot pain or avoiding certain activities they were once able to complete with ease.
- Your child says their foot feels numb or tingly.
- Your child limps or favors one leg over the other when walking.
- Your child has started tripping or falling frequently.
- You have concerns about the way your child is walking compared to peers of the same age.
- You’ve noticed red skin, swelling, or other signs of infection.
- Your child is embarrassed to show you their feet.
When in doubt, it’s best to err on the side of caution and consult a podiatrist for an evaluation. While some issues will resolve with time, others need prompt intervention to avoid creating problems that can interfere with your child’s mobility or lead to chronic foot, heel, or ankle pain. Although your child’s pediatrician should be your first point of contact for general health concerns, only a podiatrist has the specialized training necessary to identify problems that can interfere with normal bone and muscle growth in the feet.
Request an Appointment Today
Grandville Foot and Ankle serves patients from Grandville, Jenison, Hudsonville, Georgetown, Zeeland, Grand Rapids, Caledonia, Kentwood, Lowell, and throughout Michigan. Contact us to schedule your appointment with Dr. Sarah Stewart.