There is a seemingly endless dictionary of medical specialties—optometry, dermatology cardiology, pediatrics, podiatry, et cetera—each with its own complex issues to diagnose and treat. But while you likely take your child to the pediatrician, dentist, and eye doctor regularly, how often do you think of scheduling a visit to the podiatrist?
Although it is easy to overlook in young children, foot pain can occur for a variety of reasons and should not be ignored. Here are the top 5 pediatric foot problems that might be the cause of your child’s discomfort.
1. Growing Pains
As children grow up, it's common for them to experience some discomfort in their legs, ankles, and feet during growth spurts. Typically, the pain comes and goes; sometimes it happens every night for a week straight, or perhaps only a few times a week, or only on occasion. Growing pains typically set in in the late afternoon and worsen throughout the night, but the pain is often gone by the morning.
The exact cause of growing pains is unknown, but in the past, doctors believed they occurred when the bones in a child's feet or legs grew faster than the tendons. We know now that this isn't the case, but regardless, growing pains continue to cause a lot of pain and discomfort for growing kids.
2. Ill-Fitting Shoes
Children's feet are known to grow quickly—anyone who has bought their child back-to-school shoes and then had to buy them again before the year was over can attest to this! Shoes in the wrong size can cause a variety of foot problems, including blisters, bunions, corns, calluses, and ingrown toenails.
If your child complains of foot pain, it could be caused by old shoes that are too tight, or even new shoes that are too loose. Make sure to measure your child's feet every few months and ensure that they have appropriately sized shoes. If they do develop any complications, reach out to the pediatric podiatry experts at Northern Illinois Foot & Ankle Specialists.
3. Sever's Disease
According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, Sever's Disease is a result of the growth plate located in a child's heel becoming inflamed due to overuse. It is most common in children between the ages of 8 and 14 who are active in sports or activities that involve running and jumping. However, children who are less active may also develop Sever's disease, especially if they wear very flat shoes.
That said, there are other foot conditions that can cause heel pain, as well, like plantar fasciitis. If your child is experiencing persistent heel pain, it's best to consult a pediatric podiatrist at a foot and ankle clinic near you for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.
4. Other Abnormalities
There are a number of other foot and ankle disorders that can cause foot pain in children, like:
- Flat feet: Flat feet are caused by a deformity in the arch of the foot. They can cause pain and discomfort, especially during activity, but often go away on their own as the child grows and develops.
- Clubfoot: Clubfoot is a congenital deformity in which the foot is turned inward and downward. It is usually diagnosed by a foot and ankle surgeon shortly after a baby is born, and can often be corrected without any long-term effects.
- In-toeing: This is a condition where a child's feet point inward when they walk. It can be caused by muscle tightness or deformity in the hips, legs, or feet and is often genetic.
- Out-toeing: Similar to in-toeing, this condition is caused by muscle tightness or deformity in the hips, legs, or feet and causes the child's feet to turn outward when walking.
These conditions, while less common than those previously mentioned, can cause significant discomfort in children and should be monitored by a podiatrist.
Perhaps the most common cause of foot pain for children is injuries. Whether it's a sprained ankle from landing the wrong way on a jump, or stubbing their toe on furniture, kids can be rather injury-prone as they explore the world and discover how to navigate their environment.
Young athletes, in particular, are also at a higher risk of sports injuries like stress fractures and turf toe. If your child is involved in sports, it's important to monitor the amount of time they practice and the intensity of their activity, as well as make sure they have the appropriate shoes and equipment for their sport.
If you think your child may have injured their foot or requires special sports medicine care, bring them to the experts at Northern Illinois Foot & Ankle Specialists. Our team can help diagnose any condition and provide the best treatment plan to get them back on their feet quickly and safely.
How Northern Illinois Foot & Ankle Specialists Can Help
At Northern Illinois Foot & Ankle Specialists, our team of experienced podiatrists is proud to provide comprehensive pediatric foot care for children of all ages. From routine check-ups to the treatment of traumatic injuries and chronic conditions, we offer the latest in technology and treatments to ensure your child's feet stay healthy and happy.
Our compassionate staff is dedicated to delivering exceptional patient care and helping you understand your child's foot problems. After all, proper foot and ankle care is essential for kids of all ages—not just those who are kids at heart!
Get the best podiatric care in Chicago, IL at Northern Illinois Foot & Ankle Specialists! Schedule your appointment online today; we look forward to helping your child stay active and pain-free!