An ingrown toenail is one of the most painful conditions we see in our office. Luckily, it’s also one of the easiest to fix. Remember, if the ingrown nail is infected, we want to see you the same day, if possible, to prevent further damage.
When a preteen or teen complains of heel pain, a frequent diagnosis is Sever’s disease, which sounds much worse than it really is. This common growing pain is relatively short-lived and won’t cause any long-term problems. It can, however, be quite painful; we’ll help relieve the discomfort and speed their recovery.
Plantar warts are a special type of wart that is most common among kids and teens. They start out as small lesions on the bottom of the foot that look a bit like a callus. But as the wart grows inward, you’ll start to notice black pinpoints on the surface, which are actually tiny drops of clotted blood.
Without treatment, these little warts will grow and keep growing, sometimes up to one inch in diameter.
Our feet, ankles and legs are designed for the foot to point straight forward when we walk and run. But sometimes children’s feet will point inward, which is otherwise known as in-toeing or being pigeon toed.
When the in-toeing is pronounced, it may cause a child to stumble or trip frequently.
Can They Grow Out Of This?
Regular in-toeing is not painful and doesn’t cause arthritis. In most cases, it will correct itself by the time the child turns eight. But some children in-toe as a result of a bone abnormality. They may have a foot that bends inward from the middle of the foot to the toes, or they could have a twisted shin or thighbone causing the problem.
If your child is in-toeing, we recommend bringing them in for an evaluation to make sure there is not an underlying issue that needs to be corrected. We will talk to you about the history of your child’s in-toeing, measure the angles of the feet, legs and hips, and possibly take X-rays to get a closer look.
While in most cases the problem will correct itself, more severe cases involving a bone abnormality may require casting or a brace to avoid long-term problems.
Getting your kids involved in sports is a great way to promote healthy living and establish a love for physical activity. The opportunities today are seemingly endless – basketball, football, soccer, lacrosse, swimming, tennis, gymnastics, cheerleading…and the list goes on. But as sports becomes competitive at younger ages and children start pushing themselves to win, injuries are becoming more common.
Children are more likely to be injured than older athletes, especially elementary school-aged kids, because their bones and bodies are still growing. They’re also less experienced and less coordinated, which can lead to trips and falls.
To decrease the chance of your child’s feet or ankles being injured, it’s important to make sure they have proper footwear. This isn’t an area where you want to scrimp – cleats from Wal-Mart might be cheap, but they probably won’t provide the support that your child’s growing feet need. We recommend purchasing athletic footwear from a store that specializes in that area and the staff is trained to properly fit children’s shoes.
Make sure your child takes stretching seriously and understands the proper stretches for their sport of choice. If their coach does not focus on stretches, check online for stretching recommendations and work with your child before practice or games to get their stretches in.
If you need to take them to the emergency room for immediate treatment, call us for a follow-up appointment the next day. We can make sure your child heals properly to avoid future problems.
While arthritis is generally known as a disease of older people, it can and does occur in children. While many cases are mild, approximately 70,000-100,000 children in America suffer from Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA), which is the most common type of childhood arthritis.
JRA can lead to slowed growth, damaged joints and painful inflammation in children. It can attack both the ankles and feet, as well as other joints and organs in the body. While the exact cause is not known, it is believed that some people have a genetic disposition for JRA that is triggered by an infection or environmental exposure.
Cohesive Care Plans
We work closely with our JRA patients’ rheumatologists to minimize the child’s discomfort and help return them to normal activity.
There are several things we can do to help relieve your child’s pain and discomfort from arthritis:
- Custom foot orthotics can help them walk normally and reduce the limitations that JRA can place on their activities.
- We can also recommend special shoes that will provide their feet with the special cushioning and support they need.
- Physical therapy
- Anti-inflammatory medications.
While flat feet can cause vast problems for adults, flat feet in kids age seven and younger is not a concern, in most cases.
We usually do not develop arches until around age three or four, and sometimes the arch won’t be detectable until first grade. Instead, young kids have a large pad of fat where the arch would normally be, which protects their feet from injury.
But In Some Cases…
In some cases, kids never develop that arch and need to be evaluated by a podiatrist to avoid future problems. It might be that there are problems with the hip or knee. Sometimes the foot bones are joined together and can’t move, which is painful.
When a child is diagnosed with flat feet, there are several things we can do to help relieve any pain and promote normal growth. These might include:
- Wearing a heel cup
- Shoe insert or orthotic
- Wearing more supportive shoes
- Special exercises
- Resting to relieve the pain
Shoe Shopping Tip
We also recommend that you shop at a shoe store where the staff is trained on how to properly fit shoes for children. Poorly fitted shoes can hinder the normal growth of their feet. It’s also a great idea to let them just go barefoot when it’s appropriate, which is the best for developing coordination and strength.
Babies + Toddlers
The bones in their feet are still forming, so a poorly fitted shoe can cause abnormal and repetitive pressures that could actually deform their feet. So there are some important things to know about choosing your children’s shoes, beyond what color matches that new dress.
While baby shoes are a popular shower gift, babies actually don’t need shoes at all. They’re not walking anywhere, and restricting their little feet with shoes can actually harm them. Until they turn one, just stick with socks.
Even as they age, toddlers and preschoolers will actually do better if they’re left barefoot as much as possible. This promotes muscle growth, lets little toes grasp and helps their feet develop strength and coordination. Of course, that’s not always practical, like when you’re walking down a gravel driveway or it’s 15 degrees and snowing. But if their feet aren’t in danger of getting hurt, just leave the shoes off.
Choosing The Right Shoes
- Flexibility — Shoes for babies that are just learning to walk and exploring toddlers need to be flexible, lightweight and soft. Avoid any kind of shoe that is too hard and won’t move with their feet. The little hiking boots might be adorable, but they’re not going to let your child’s feet to grow properly. They shouldn’t restrict toe and foot mobility or bind feet in any way. When it comes to shoes for the little ones, less is definitely more.
- Breathability — Little ones can have sweaty feet just like grown-ups, and sweaty feet can lead to friction that causes painful blisters. To avoid this problem, choose shoes made of natural fibers such as leather or cotton. Avoid synthetic shoes such as those made to mimic the look of leather, which can trap heat and make little feet uncomfortable.
- Flat Soles — New walkers all the way up to preschoolers will be able to explore better if they have shoes with a flat surface. Unlike adults, who need arch support, young children need shoes that mimic going barefoot. Look for shoes with a smooth, flat sole and avoid rubber soles, which are unfortunately very common in kid shoes today.
- Avoid Heels — Kids should never wear shoes with heels. It throws their balance off, will make them trip, slip and fall, and can injure their little feet and ankles. They’ll grow up fast enough, so don’t rush it.
Your best option when choosing shoes for toddlers and preschoolers is to shop at a specialty kids shoe store where the staff is trained on how to fit shoes for kids. The selections will also be more appropriate for your little one’s feet. We highly suggest Howard Curry Shoes.
School Age Kids
Most parents don’t really know what to look for when choosing kids shoes beyond feeling how close the big toe is to the end.
But finding the right shoes goes way beyond just finding ones that fit.
Shoes To Avoid
While it’s tempting to just put your younger child in their big brother’s cast-off shoes, it’s a bad idea. Most shoes will mold to the foot that wears them, based on the shape of that foot and the way the person walks.
But these are very unique factors for each person and will cause discomfort, blisters and possibly worse problems. So avoid handing down shoes.
Man-made materials won’t stretch like natural materials, which when used on shoes can harm a child’s developing foot.
While the cheaper shoes at discount retailers might be appealing for the household budget, they’re not a good option for school shoes. They also won’t last as long.
Another plus for shoes made of natural materials is that they’re breathable. Kids feet sweat a lot and need air. Anyone who’s ever had a teenage boy could tell you that.
But it’s the same for smaller feet as well. Choose shoes made of real leather or canvas, which will let air circulate to keep kids feet dry and comfortable.
If you shop in a children’s specialty shoe store where the staff is trained to fit children’s shoes, you’ll most likely be able to avoid these problems.
They’ll also have higher quality products, which will be better for their feet and last longer. We highly suggest Howard Curry Shoes – the staff is wonderful.