As a parent, the most important priority in your life is the health, safety, and wellbeing of your child. Anything seemingly out of the ordinary can be a source of alarm. But over time, you will find that not everything is quite as serious as it may appear to be. Medical professionals can become a great source to help provide assurance that everything is fine or to provide effective care if something is wrong. This holds true when it comes to the pediatric foot care provided by Foot & Ankle Associates of Florida.
Child Foot Care – Gait Abnormalities, Heel Pain, and Sports Injuries
Parents, especially new ones, are often concerned when a child who is just starting to take those first steps exhibits signs of gait abnormalities. (“Gait’ refers to the biomechanical processes we all use when we walk. It can be thought of as a walking pattern.) The most common gait issues for children include toe walking, intoeing, and out-toeing. In the majority of cases, these issues resolve on their own, and without any long-term issues, but our podiatrists can evaluate the situation, provide assurances, monitor the condition, and provide treatment if it is necessary.
Another potential source of gait abnormality is overpronation. This refers to an excessive inward turning motion of the foot during the ground portion of a step. It is often caused by a flatfoot. This is worth mentioning regarding pediatric foot care because many children have flat feet. Actually, when a baby is born, there is a pad of fat obscuring the foot arch and the arches are not visible until approximately age 3. Even at that point, flatfoot might not be a major concern because the arch will continue developing until about age 8. Your son or daughter might have low foot arches—it is estimated that 1 out of 5 people do—but low arches may become a concern if pain is present.
There are many different reasons people experience heel pain, but when it comes to kids, the likely culprit is Sever’s disease (calcaneal apophysis). Don’t let the “disease” part stress you out, though, because this is not actually a disease at all. Instead, it is a literal growing pain that happens when a growth plate in the calcaneus (heel bone) reaches physical maturity before the Achilles tendon. This results in excessive tension on the tendon, and pain in the back of the heel. Treatment is centered exclusively on pain management, since the condition will resolve itself in time and usually with no long-term effects.
Sports and physical activity can be an important part of your child’s healthy development. Not only do sports provide exercise, they also instill social skills and characteristics that will benefit your son or daughter in other areas of life. Unfortunately, there is always a risk of injury (like ankle sprains and stress fractures) with physical activity. The good news is that sports injuries are often treated successfully with nonsurgical care. Even better, there are preventative measures that can reduce injury risk. Be sure to contact us for additional details.
Child Foot Care – Skin and Nail Issues
Ingrown toenails can be quite common for children. This can be explained by the fact that children grow so rapidly. A primary cause of ingrown toenails are shoes that are too tight and crowd the toes together in the front. If a child outgrows his or her shoes, the risk of an ingrown toenail increases. Other causes of ingrown nails include clipping toenails too short, rounding off toenail edges, and physical trauma (like dropping something heavy on the foot).
Warts are quite common for children and are caused by certain strains of a virus known as the human papillomavirus (HPV). The ones that grow on the bottom of the feet are known as plantar warts. They are generally harmless, but can cause discomfort or pain while your child is standing or walking. Our office can safely remove a plantar wart if your child develops one on his or her foot.
Pediatric foot care services are just a part of the services we provide at Foot & Ankle Associates of Florida. For more information on the comprehensive foot care we offer for your whole family, give us a call at 407-339-7759 or 352-589-9550 (for those calling from Lake County). While on the phone, ask about setting up a visit with any of our Orlando, Tavares, Lake Mary, Altamonte Springs, or Kissimmee offices today.