When you think about issues with your feet, you probably expect it to be a later-in-life challenge. Surprisingly, though, children and teens actually have a fairly high probability of dealing with podiatric problems.
Keep an eye on your kids’ feet, watching how they walk and checking them periodically. That way, if any issues do arise, you can come to see Christopher Vittori, DPM, and Ameet Thakrar, DPM, at our Vittori Foot & Ankle Specialist offices in Homer Glen and New Lenox, Illinois. Here, we offer specialized children’s foot care that addresses everything from warts to flat feet.
To help you understand why it’s so important to watch for foot issues in your children, let’s look at some of the factors that put them at particularly high risk.
Generally speaking, kids and teens are much more active than adults. Between recess, after-school sports, running around with their friends, and exploring, the odds are high that your child spends a lot of time moving.
This is great for their growing body, but it does put a strain on their feet. The higher level of activity means a greater likelihood of certain podiatric problems. And kids are more likely to ignore the pain so they can keep playing.
As children’s legs and feet develop, they can encounter issues that stem from the way they’re growing. Children are born with flat feet, for example, and develop their arches as they get older — assuming everything goes normally.
For kid-specific issues like flat feet, toe walking, and knock knees, we’re here to help. Most of these problems will go away — children generally naturally grow out of them — but we can set them up with properly supportive footwear in the meantime.
One of the biggest challenges in children’s foot care is recognizing there’s a problem. Most kids don’t check their feet regularly. Even if they do and they happen to notice a wart or an ingrown toenail, they’re much more likely than an adult to simply dismiss it because they don’t know what it is.
As their parent, you can help to overcome this obstacle by checking their feet periodically. If you do notice anything out of the ordinary, talk with your son or daughter about it so they know what to watch for in the future.
Also, check the soles of their shoes. Unusual wear patterns can clue you into potential podiatric problems.
Since kids grow so fast, it can be tempting to pass their now-too-small shoes down to the next sibling in line. The American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) warns against this, though.
For starters, hand-me-down shoes can transfer things like nail fungus from one sibling to another.
Additionally, used shoes come with specific wear patterns. If the older sibling overpronates, they might wear in the arches of their shoes. When the younger sibling puts them on, it could force their own ankles to roll inward, too.
All told, kids’ feet deserve as much attention as an adult’s. But you don’t have to monitor your child or teen’s foot development on your own. For specialized care for their feet, call Vittori Foot & Ankle Specialist or schedule an appointment online today.