pediatric foot care
Nothing breaks a parent’s heart faster than a child in pain, or struggling to keep up with peers due to physical discomfort or impairment. Kids normally have boundless energy, but when feet are misaligned or in pain it can stop them from playing, and keep them from developing healthy habits. Children can develop problems as a result of genetics, poor shoes, overuse, even position in the womb. They also face unique challenges due to the fact that their bones are still soft, flexible, and growing.
At the office of Dr. Joel Foster, providing compassionate, comprehensive care for your entire family is our No. 1 concern. We are totally dedicated to helping your little ones grow up healthy and strong, with happy feet to last a lifetime.
Infant and Pre-Adolescent Foot Conditions
Newborns and young children usually don’t experience much, if any pain as a result of foot issues—at least not until they begin walking. However, if left untreated these conditions could develop into much more serious, chronic issues. It is important to have any foot or ankle issues evaluated by a professional to determine what, if any, intervention may be required. Common conditions include:
- Intoeing and out-toeing. Toes may point slightly outward or inward as a result of curvature in the foot or rotation in the shin or thigh bones.
- Clubfoot. Much more serious than intoeing, clubfoot is a semi-rare congenital deformity in which at least one foot is significantly twisted at birth. Treatment needs to begin immediately to ensure the problem is corrected before the child learns to walk.
- Flat feet. Many young children have “flexible” flatfoot, which means the arch flattens when bearing weight but reappears when the child is sitting or standing on tiptoes. This usually disappears in time. However, some children may develop a rigid, permanent flatfoot condition.
- Ingrown toenails. Although they can be caused by trauma, ingrown toenails that emerge in very small children usually have a genetic component. A minor surgical procedure may be needed to remove the ingrown nail edge and prevent it from growing back.
Some pediatric conditions are self-correcting; in fact, many forms of intoeing are likely to straighten out naturally in time. Direct treatment is not always necessary. However, examination is still recommended.
An important reminder: young children may not always have the words—or the inclination—to tell you when something is wrong. So you’ll have to keep a careful eye on them and look for worrying signs about the way they walk or how they respond to activities. For example, shying away from play or frequent requests to be carried could indicate foot pain.
Adolescents and Teens
As kids grow up, they often start to get more aggressive with their play, or pick up multiple sports. This can lead to a raft of common sports injuries, such as ankle sprains, muscle strains, broken bones, and the like.
Children who develop heel pain generally do so not as a result of plantar fasciitis (which is the most common form of heel pain in adults), but due to an injury to the growth plate in the heel known as Sever’s disease. This “plate” is exposed while children are still growing, and is softer and more susceptible to injury than mature bone.
Teenagers can also develop bunions. Since kids usually aren’t wearing a lot of high heels or have a few decades of wear and tear, bunion development in people so young generally indicates an underlying issue with biomechanics.
Comprehensive Care Options for the Littlest Feet
Our office takes its commitment to the highest quality pediatric foot care seriously. When you visit us, you can expect that we’ll take all the time needed to fully listen to you and your child. We’ll explain their condition and treatment options (if any are recommended) compassionately, respectfully, and in terms that everyone can understand. We strive to make our environment as calm and warm as possible!
We offer a wide variety care options such as medications, bracing, orthotic devices, stretching, special shoes, and more. Dr. Joel Foster is also an excellent surgeon and can provide more aggressive forms of care when absolutely necessary—though for growing bones, we try to avoid surgical intervention as much as possible.
If your child is showing signs of foot or ankle pain, or you have any concerns whatsoever about how their feet are developing, please set up an appointment at our Lee’s Summit, MO office. You can call us at (816) 246-4222, or request an appointment using our online contact form.