Taking care of your feet is important at any age, but it is especially crucial during childhood when the feet are still developing. Sometimes, growth occurs without any issues, but other times, children may experience discomfort or pain. The good news is that foot pain in children can be treated and, in some cases, even prevented. This can be done by being aware of the potential signs of pathology, understanding the common foot conditions that affect children, and knowing how to respond to them. It’s important to monitor the child’s foot development and seek medical advice if there are any concerns. By taking the necessary precautions and providing proper foot care, you can help your child grow up with healthy and comfortable feet.
Foot care to treat common foot ailments among children
Foot pain can affect both children and adults. For this reason, pediatric podiatry offers a variety of treatments. Did you know that we all have flat feet at birth? Typically, it takes three years for the foot arch to develop. However, some children are exceptions to the rule and keep their feet flat. Normally, no foot care is necessary unless the child complains of pain. Keep in mind that a child’s legs may also occasionally be curved. If this curvature does not go away by the time the child reaches the age of three, your podiatrist may suggest additional treatments if simple stretching proves insufficient.
To accurately diagnose the cause of a child’s foot pain, a podiatrist may perform a biomechanical examination and postural evaluation. The biomechanical examination looks at the lower limb axes, the movements and joints of the feet, and any difficulties during walking. The postural evaluation will detect any misalignment of the pelvis, differences in leg length, knee deviations, and the presence of flat feet. This will help the professional to identify the root cause of the pain and provide an appropriate treatment plan. It’s important to consult a podiatrist if your child is experiencing foot pain, as they can help prevent and treat it.
An x-ray of a child’s feet can be performed if there is a suspicion that the bones are causing the pain. The x-ray can be used to verify the proper alignment of the bones, measure the length and shape of the feet, identify any deformities and assess the level of growth. It’s an important tool that can even detect bone tumours or diseases. This technology can help the podiatrist identify the root cause of the pain and provide an appropriate treatment plan.
Foot orthoses can also be a good option for your child because of the many benefits they provide. In fact, they can correct both the gait and the development of the feet. Foot orthoses can be easily adapted to your child’s routine and will help their feet by preventing muscle compensation or the misalignment of their legs by straightening them.
Preventive foot care: getting the right footwear
It’s important to ensure that your child is wearing the appropriate shoes to help prevent foot pain. To determine the correct shoe size, it’s best to choose the largest size if it’s between two sizes, and make sure that your thumb can fit comfortably at the back of the shoe (behind the child’s foot). Shoes with laces are preferable as they provide better support for the feet. Avoid selecting shoes that are too big for your child with the idea that they will last longer, as this can lead to discomfort and affect the health of their feet and development. Your child should feel comfortable in their shoes. It’s important to regularly check the fit of the shoes and replace them when they become too small.
Foot care: when should your child see a podiatrist?
It’s recommended to take your child to see a podiatrist as soon as possible after the age of one month if you have any concerns about their feet. However, it’s not until the child is around 2 or 3 years old that the foot is fully developed and stable enough for a more accurate assessment of their condition. Podiatric treatments for children allow for monitoring the health of their feet during their development. By starting foot care at a young age, you are far more likely to benefit from prevention and early action.
Treat and prevent
As children grow, they may experience discomfort or pain in their feet. A podiatrist is well-equipped to identify the cause of the pain and provide the appropriate treatment. This may include a biomechanical assessment, postural evaluation, digital foot x-ray or prescribing orthoses. It’s recommended to schedule a first visit with a podiatrist for your child when they reach the age of 2 or 3. If your child is experiencing foot pain, it’s important not to hesitate and contact a podiatrist as soon as possible.