Often, we think of podiatrists as doctors who only care for mature, well-used feet. And while we do maintain feet and ankles that have tread many miles, those less-used feet belonging to infants, children and teens sometimes require attention, too.
Indeed, here at Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists, we are proud to be able to provide comforting advice and treatment for foot and ankle problems in patients of all ages. And that includes children’s feet! So kids can be active and healthy, and parents can have peace of mind knowing that their children are well cared for.
Most Common Foot and Ankle Conditions in Children
Now, when it comes to pediatric podiatry, we often find that some issues tend to be more common than others. Furthermore, some issues found in children’s feet will likely be different than those experienced by their parents. That is why, if you are a parent, it is important that you become familiar with the most common foot and ankle conditions which afflict our youth. Doing so will help you recognize when your child needs medical care.
Below are some of the most common foot and ankle conditions and injuries experienced by children:
Flatfoot is usually not an area of concern unless the condition is causing painful symptoms or keeping your child from doing their favorite activities. That said, it’s important keep an eye on it and make sure there isn’t a more serious problem causing it.
Any individual who has nails could develop ingrown toenails, but it is more common when children wear shoes that are too tight or too small, or when their nails are trimmed too short or too rounded.
This condition develops when there is difference in the rates of growth between the heel bone and its connective tissue, leading to heel pain in teens. It’s especially common in kids who play sports.
Though there are many benefits to participating in sporting events, there is always a risk of injury.
This is something that kids sometimes love sharing with one another. Our office can provide treatment to remove these viral growths.
As it is true with most health problems, the key is to prevent, prevent, prevent. It’s how that saying goes: “An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of treatment.” And, with that in mind, we have some great tips for you to put to work.
Prevent Foot and Ankle Problems in Children
There are several measures that can be taken to help reduce the risk of foot or ankle problems developing in children. Some of the top preventative foot care measures include:
- Shoes. They need to be appropriate for the activity a child does, as well as fit correctly.
- Weight management. There are many benefits to encouraging your child to participate in physical activities, including keeping their weight in a normal range. This will lead to less stress on the feet and ankles!
- Stretches. Sever’s disease is not necessarily preventable, but a regular stretching routine can keep your child’s Achilles tendons and calf muscles limber, which will help.
However, sometimes foot and ankle injuries can be inevitable—especially if your child is active and regularly participates in sports activities. When this is the case, there are many treatment methods that come into play.
Treatment Options for Foot and Ankle Injuries in Children
We always aim to successfully treat most foot and ankle conditions with the use of nonsurgical methods. This is especially true when it comes to treating the feet and ankles of children.
Thankfully, many of these common childhood foot issues are treated effectively without the need for surgical intervention. Some of the methods that we may use to treat your child’s foot or ankle include:
- R.I.C.E. method. Rest, ice, compression, and elevation can be quite effective to relieve painful symptoms, reduce levels of inflammation, and help the body perform its natural healing processes.
- Medication. It is important to always check with our office for dosage recommendations, but nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can be especially helpful for relieving pain and inflammation.
- Orthotic devices. Customized orthotic devices can be used as a highly effective treatment tool for a wide range of issues. When we prepare orthotics, they are crafted to work in a specific manner with your child’s unique feet.
- Surgery. As we already have mentioned, we will take every measure possible to treat a young patient’s condition with the use of nonsurgical care, but sometimes surgical procedures are simply necessary. And when this is the case, you can find comfort in knowing that your child is in the hands of a skilled, highly trained foot surgeon who has your child’s health firmly in mind.
Of course, if your child complains of foot or ankle pain, or if you notice any unusual signs in the walking gate or structure of your child’s foot or ankle, it is best to come visit Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists right away. Addressing problems during its early stages can mean the difference between your child having healthy feet for life or suffering from painful injuries in the future.
Contact Us Today!
Our foot doctors are ready to provide the care your child needs. Simply call us at (512) 328-8900 to schedule an appointment at one of our two convenient locations: Westlake Hills or Westgate. You can also fill out our handy request form online and one of our trained staff members will contact you soon to confirm your consultation.