Common Foot Problems to Watch Out For in Children
A child’s early years are critical to the growth and development of their feet.
During this crucial stage in their lives, it’s important to make sure that their feet are developing correctly. Identifying warning signs or abnormalities early can help with treating foot conditions before they become worse.
If you want to make sure your child’s feet grow properly throughout childhood and adolescence, keep an eye out for these common foot conditions that children face.
Bow Legs is a condition where a child’s knees are wide apart even when their ankles are together. This is a normal condition among infants that eventually disappears as they turn two or three years old. But if the problem persists beyond three years of age, then it needs to be treated properly. When left untreated, bow legs can often lead to osteoarthritis or walking issues in later life.
Flat Feet is a condition that many children begin to outgrow as they start walking. However, some children’s arches don’t develop fully as they should, even after learning how to walk and strengthening their leg muscles to support themselves. This can lead to flat feet as they grow into adulthood. If you notice your child’s arches haven’t developed by the time they’re six years old, have their feet checked by a podiatrist to see how they can be treated.
In-toeing (also known as being “pigeon-toed”) is a condition where a child’s feet point inwards instead of straight ahead when they walk. This is a common condition among children that they usually outgrow when they’re 3 to 5 years old. If your child has in-toeing issues they haven’t outgrown by then, or if you notice that the problem been getting worse, then consult a podiatrist for possible treatments.
Knock Knees is the opposite of bow legs, and it’s characterised by the knees coming closely together while the ankles are wide apart. It is a part of normal development for most children, and children who have bow legs often progress to this condition before outgrowing it by the time they’re 5 to 7 years old. Because of the extra pressure placed on their knees, it’s important to treat knock knees properly if it persists into later childhood.
Osgood Schlatter’s Disease
Osgood-Schlatter’s Disease is a knee condition common among adolescents where the growth plates of the tibia (lower leg bone) are inflamed. This is often caused by the effects of growth spurts, physical activity, or a child’s biomechanics. It often presents itself as knee pain (at the front of the knee), especially immediately after physical activity. If your child is experiencing front knee pain, especially if they just hit puberty and a growth spurt, then it’s best to have their feet and knees checked.
Out-toeing is the opposite of in-toeing, and it happens when a child’s toes point outward instead of pointing straight when they walk. Out-toeing, however, is less common than in-toeing, and it can sometimes lead to pain and disability if left untreated. Although many young toddlers show signs of out-toeing early on, their bodies and feet often correct themselves as they grow. Any case of persistent out-toeing must be treated early to prevent long-term pain and disability.
Sever’s Disease is a painful inflammation of a growth plate in a child’s heel. It is commonly seen among adolescents who are going through their growth spurts in puberty (especially for those who are physically active). Although it rarely causes long-term issues and problems, it can present nagging pain and swelling in the heel bone that will require proper rest and treatments to prevent from getting worse.
Walking on Tiptoes
Walking on tiptoes (or toe walking) is typical among young children, especially when they’re still learning how to walk. By the time they’re three years old, most children then usually walk normally with their feet flat on the ground. But if you notice your child consistently walks on their toes beyond the age of three, then it could be a sign of other medical or biomechanical problems.
Want to Make Sure Your Child’s Feet Grow Properly?
If you notice that your child is displaying symptoms of any of the conditions above, don’t hesitate to have it checked by our podiatrist. Early treatment is crucial to preventing long-term mobility issues, so it’s always better to get a professional consultation.
Our children’s podiatrist can conduct biomechanical assessments, video gait analyses, and other diagnostic techniques to evaluate your child’s feet and lower limbs. Book an appointment online or contact us to schedule a visit.