Posts for category: pediatric foot care
Would you like to help ensure that your child's feet remain healthy throughout the coming years? Clinton and Waldorf, MD, podiatrists Dr. Larry Hotchkiss and Dr. Justin Pointer share a few foot care tips just for kids.
Skip the shoes until your child walks
Cute shoes can definitely make an outfit, but your baby is better off without shoes, even soft ones, until he or she begins to stand and walk. Shoes restrict your child's ability to move his or her feet and may even interfere with normal foot development if they're too tight.
Learning to walk barefoot offers some important benefits. When a toddler isn't wearing shoes, it's easier to feel the floor, which may help improve balance. Going barefoot at this stage may also help your little one develop stronger arches.
Choose footwear wisely
When you buy shoes for your children, consider these three factors:
- Wiggle Room: Although allowing a little room to grow may seem like a good idea, can be difficult to walk in too-big shoes. Struggling to walk in the shoes may actually harm muscle development in the feet.
- Flexibility: Look for shoes that bend to accommodate the natural movement of your child's feet when they walk, run and jump. The soles of the shoes should flex in the heels and in the mid-section of the shoes.
- Arch Support: Flip flops, boots and other stylish shoes are available in the smallest sizes, but that doesn't mean that they're a good idea for your child's feet. Wearing flip flops, in particular, can cause foot, ankle or knee pain because the sandals don't adequately support the feet or control foot motion.
Replace shoes often
During growth spurts, you may need to replace your child's feet every two or three months. When you shop for shoes in Clinton or Waldorf, ask the salesperson to measure your child's feet to ensure that you select the correct size. Pay more attention to the way your child says the shoes feel than the size noted on the outside. Because fit may vary by manufacturer, your child may actually need to go up or down a size depending on the brand.
Proper care is the key to protecting your child's feet. If you're concerned that your child may have a foot problem that affects balance or walking ability, schedule an appointment with podiatrists Dr. Larry Hotchkiss and Dr. Justin Pointer by calling (301) 868-3899 for the Clinton, MD, office or (301) 843-9581 for the Waldorf office.
A real “growing pain” that we at Southern Maryland Foot & Ankle sometimes see in children between the ages of 8 and 15 is Sever’s Disease. This is a very painful inflammation of the growth plate of the heel. The heel bone does not finish developing completely until about the age of 15. New growth continues to form at the back of the heel, creating a weak spot that can become irritated with overuse.
Who Gets Sever’s Disease?
Sever’s Disease affects boys and girls. Children and teens who participate in sports that require running or pounding of the feet are at high risk. Those who play basketball, soccer and run track, for example, are especially prone to getting Sever’s Disease. Other causes for this disorder include:
Faulty foot structure such as flatfeet or a very high arch
An overly tight Achilles tendon
Certain types of cleats and poorly fitting shoes can also contribute to the inflammation
What are the Symptoms?
Pain the bottom or back of the heel is the most obvious sign of Sever’s Disease. Another telltale sign may be pain when the sides of the heel are squeezed. Sometimes younger children are unable to articulate that their heel hurts but you may notice that they are walking on tip toe, limping or suddenly don’t want to participate in activities that they usually enjoy.
How is it Treated?
First and foremost, a youth with Sever’s Disease needs to stop any activities that are causing pain in the heel. After that, our foot and ankle surgeon, Dr. Larry Hotchkiss, will determine the best plan for your child. In cases where the pain is severe, the podiatrist may immobilize the heel with a cast to speed healing. Physical therapy and stretching can help with healing and prevent a reoccurrence of the condition. Orthotic devices may be recommended as well to protect and support the heel.
Parents need to be vigilant about their children’s foot health. Allowing your child to “finish the game” or “play through the pain” can lead to a serious disability. If you notice anything different about your child’s or teen’s feet, or he or she is in pain, don’t delay. Make an appointment at our Waldorf or Clinton office today.
As parents, we never want to hear that our children are experiencing any pain or discomfort. When it comes to their feet, children’s growing and developing bones and muscles and their very active lifestyle make them prone to certain disorders. Don’t fall for the myth that “it’s just growing pains.” Complaints of pain in the foot, ankle, or leg should always be taken seriously and evaluated. At Southern Maryland Foot & Ankle we have many years of experience in treating pediatric foot issues. Below are some of the more common ones to look out for:
- Sever’s Disease—this painful inflammation of the heel is most likely to strike 8 to 14 year olds because the growth plate in the heel has not fully finished developing. Running, basketball, and other activities that impact the heel can make this condition worse.
- Pediatric Flatfoot—Flatfoot can be difficult to diagnose in very young children because baby fat and new walking habits make it difficult to detect. As your child gets older, you may notice that he or she runs in an awkward way. Sometimes a child with flatfoot may complain of pain in the foot, ankle, or leg.
- Ingrown Toenails—this painful condition is caused by a nail growing down into the skin. With rapidly growing feet, children’s shoes need to be checked often because footwear that is too tight is a major cause of ingrown toenails. Once a nail breaks the skin, an infection can also develop and there may be signs of pus and drainage.
- Plantar Warts—most kids love to walk barefoot but this leaves them open to picking up the virus that causes Plantar Warts. On the surface, these warts appear hard and flat with little pin pricks of black in the center. But these warts can grow deep down in the skin, causing your child pain when they put weight on his or her foot.
If your child is experiencing any of the above symptoms, contact our Waldorf or Clinton office for an appointment. Our board certified foot and ankle surgeon, Dr. Larry Hotchkiss, will conduct a thorough exam of your child’s foot and determine what if any treatment is necessary. It’s important to detect any foot problems early in children to ensure a lifetime of healthy activity.