Did you know that the signs and symptoms of children’s foot problems can be subtle? Sometimes, your child may not complain about foot pain or even be unable to tell you what’s wrong. That’s why it’s easy for foot and ankle problems in children to go unnoticed. Therefore, as a parent, it’s your responsibility to be aware of potential problems, and, when signs and symptoms arise, take your child to a doctor to have them checked out as soon as possible. Because these signs and symptoms may be indicators of serious children’s foot problems.
Per the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, here are five warning signs you should watch for:
- Your child can’t keep up with their friends. When your child plays sports or runs while in the backyard or on the playground with friends, do they have problems keeping up with their friends? Does your child need to rest more than his/her friends? Or, does your younger child want to be picked up and carried instead of playing? These are signs that your child may be experiencing pain and discomfort in their feet. One cause may be flat feet. When your child’s feet are not functioning as well as they should, the muscles in their feet and legs can tire easier.
- Your child doesn’t want to participate in activities he/she usually enjoys. If your child loves playing basketball, soccer or other sports, but becomes reluctant to play anymore, they may be having heel pain. Repetitive stress from playing sports may cause muscle strain and inflammation of the growth plate located in the back of your child’s heel. In children, growth plates are found at the ends of bones. They’re made of cartilage. Growth plates are the last portion of a child’s bones to harden. Typically, they finish closing in boys at age 15-17 and in girls at age 13-15. Growth plates are vulnerable to injury and stress from overuse. Generally, doctors see heel pain in the growth plates in children between the ages 8-14.
- Your child doesn’t want to show you his/her feet. Your child may notice a change in the appearance of their feet and/or toenails, or they may have foot pain, but they don’t tell you about it. The main reason for this behavior is, your child’s afraid they’ll have to go to the doctor. Therefore, doctors recommend that parents make a habit of inspecting their children’s feet beginning at a young age. If you notice any changes in your child’s feet, such as calluses, growths, skin discoloration, redness or swelling, you should take your child to your doctor for a proper diagnosis.
- Your child often trips and falls. If your child is often clumsy or seems uncoordinated, you should have it checked out by your child’s doctor. Frequent trips and falls may be a sign of in-toeing, balance problems, or neuromuscular conditions.
- Your child complains of pain. It’s not normal for your child to have foot, ankle or leg pain. If your child has trouble talking about their pain, watch for other signs that they may be in pain, such as crankiness, fatigue, withdrawal from normal activity, and limping. If your child has pain or swelling that lasts more than a few days, you should have your child’s feet examined by a doctor.
When children’s foot problems aren’t diagnosed and treated while your child is in their developmental stages, these problems can lead to more serious issues and pain when they’re adults.
littleSTEPS® Foot Orthotics for Kids Treat Children’s Foot Problems
Foot pain is not normal in children. Therefore, children’s foot problems shouldn’t be taken lightly since they can be a sign of a more serious problem. You should always take your child to see a doctor if they complain of pain. Your child’s doctor can properly diagnose and treat foot pain or conditions your child may have.
One treatment your doctor may recommend is that your child should wear foot orthotics. littleSTEPS® foot orthotics are specifically designed for a child’s feet to provide proper arch support and better rearfoot control. These pre-fabricated foot orthoses can help improve flat feet, balance, coordination, posture, strength and pain.
Because … when your child’s feet feel good, they feel good.®
Disclaimer: The information included in this article is for educational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Cover photo credit: 123RF / dmitrimaruta