Survey Discovers Numerous Parents Overlook Their Children’s Foot Health

Survey Discovers Numerous Parents Overlook Their Children’s Foot Health

More often than not, people associate visiting a podiatrist with growing older, although, many of the most common foot ailments are also prevalent among young adults and teens.  In addition, the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) discovered that roughly 25 percent of parents will actually take their child to a medical professional for foot treatment and of that 25 percent only half of those parents actually brought their child to a podiatrist.

So why so much apprehension?

One the the main causes of this oversight is due to the lack of understanding and identifying the warning signs that cause foot pain.

Kids experience foot pain just like adults, but because of their rapidly growing bones and tendons, they often have confusing symptoms and need to be treated in different ways.

For example, some children are born with poor mechanics, like arches that are really high or practically non-existent.  Also, some children walk and run with irregular form, often tripping and falling. In some cases, children have severe problems fitting into shoes or wearing them out rapidly. When children have abnormal feet and gait issues, they often suffer from traveling pains and sports injuries if not treated with something to alter their poor mechanics.

The most common foot pain among children is calcaneal apophysitis, a.k.a. Sever's disease, otherwise known as pediatric heel pain.  Children with this issue experience pain in their growth plate that worsens with increased activity. I recently saw a lot of this in the last few days due to pre-season football and soccer. The cleats, as well as the increase of activity, are the beginning of the perfect storm for pediatric heel pain. On top of all this, the emergence of warm summer weather increases our love of bare feet and flip flops, which also contributes to the heel pain epidemic.

The good news is that pediatric heel pain is often easily treated if you identify the cause or improper biomechanics.

Other common foot related ailments seen in kids are posterior tibial tendinitis (pain and swelling in the largest tendon that holds up your arch), Achilles tendinitis (pain in the largest tendon on the back of your heel), shin splints (pain in the front of your shin bone or lower legs), and Osgood-schlatter's disease (pain and swelling in the growth plate just below your knee). These are also treated primarily by realigning the biomechanics of the child's foot.

Kids with gait issues may in-toe or out-toe, causing muscle and joint imbalances. Some kids are even chronic toe walkers. These types of issues can be foot type related or can be caused by some underlying nerve issue. Orthotics (shoe inserts to balance abnormal foot function) and physical therapy are usually very helpful.

Of course, kids also can suffer from traumatic sprains and strains as well as stress fractures and fractures. No one is immune to fall down and go boom!

What else do we see in kids? Lots and lots of ingrown toenails, pesky warts, skin and nail issues, which are abundant and seem to be ignored all summer long. I implore all parents to take a look at their kid's feet and nails because little problems become big headaches when not addressed. For example, a simple ingrown toenail can become a huge abscess when picked at repeatedly by your child.

Make and appointment for you or your child today at AllCare Foot & Ankle at 732-695-3668 (FEET)!

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