Pediatric Foot and Ankle Disorders
If your child has a foot that turns inward, he or she may have metatarsus adductus. This is a foot deformity that affects only the front half of the foot. This congenital condition is fairly common.
If the foot is quite flexible and there are no difficulties straightening it or moving in different directions, it may not require any treatment – just close observation as your child grows. If the child develops problems with their gait, stumbles when they walk or have pain, treatment may be indicated.
A podiatrist can teach you stretching exercises that can be done at home. These may help the foot adjust to a normal position. In some cases the child may have to wear a splint or special shoes for most of the day that hold the foot in the correct position. Very rarely, a cast is made for the child’s foot and leg. This option is best used in children 8 months and younger. Surgery is rarely the needed course of action and if it is deemed necessary, it will be delayed until the child is 4-6 years of age.
Research has found that patients with metatarsus adductus can have significant foot issues later in life, including severe bunion deformities and pain from high or low arches, depending on their level of flexibility.
Pediatric flatfoot is characterized by the partial or total collapse of the arch in the feet. Typically, arches do not develop in children until the age of 3 or 4. Some children experience no negative symptoms while others experience pain and a limitation of activity. The existence and severity of your child’s symptoms will help to identify a treatment plan.
For children with no painful symptoms, treatment includes merely an observation of their growth or custom orthotics, depending on severity of the condition. Negative symptoms of pediatric flatfoot include pain, tenderness, cramping, fatigue, awkwardness in walking, difficulty with shoes, and reduced energy in physical activities.
An accurate diagnosis by a podiatrist is the first step in helping your child with pediatric flatfoot. Drs. Joel Brook and David Northcutt will examine your child’s foot while standing, walking and sitting and take X-rays to determine the severity of the problem. Once diagnosed, they will recommend treatment. Our primary goal is to keep your child healthy and active. Treatment can include custom orthotics, physical therapy, shoe modifications, and temporary use of anti-inflammatory medications are all options that will reduce pain and get your child back to enjoying the activities they love.
Pediatric Heel Pain
“Why does my child have heel pain?”
It’s a common question, and there are numerous causes for pediatric heel pain. The most common cause is Sever’s disease. It most often affects 8-14 year olds who are involved sports that involve a good deal of running and jumping. The cause of Sever’s disease is an inflammatory condition affecting the growth plate in the back of the heel where the Achilles tendon inserts. This condition is typically accompanied tightness of the Achilles tendon and characterized by swelling and tenderness of the heels.
There are no long-term effects of this disease – only temporary pain while your child is involved in physical activities. Primary treatment is icing and rest, the use of heel lifts to keep strain off of the Achilles, possible use of orthotics, and immobilization if needed. A foot specialist can demonstrate different kinds of exercises that can be implemented at home as well as prescribe heel pads or arch supports in your child’s footwear.
Other causes of heel pain in children include Achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, and fractures. Achilles tendonitis is the result of an overuse injury due to frequent and repeated pounding on hard surfaces. Fractures also occur with repetitive stress on the feet, resulting in different varieties of fractures.
Treatment of Pediatric Disorders
If your child is experiencing pain or if you’re concerned about the appearance or flexibility of your child’s foot, you should never wait to contact a podiatrist. Addressing the issue now could prevent a more lengthy treatment process down the road. Don’t hesitate to make an appointment with Dallas Podiatry Works today. Our podiatrists, Drs. Brook and Northcutt, will be able to properly assess any concerns you may have about your child’s feet.