For children with foot problems, when should a parent seek help? This is a question that many parents, whether experienced or not, ask themselves. Even if some postures and movements are rectified as children grow, it is still necessary to remain vigilant in order to discover and diagnose specific foot abnormalities in children that may have long-term consequences. It is possible to avoid or at least minimise the harmful consequences by keeping a look out for certain red flags and seeing a podiatrist.
Here, we will go over some of the most common foot disorders in children, how to identify them, and when to see a podiatrist.
Different foot problems in children
A child’s gait and posture can be influenced by a variety of foot abnormalities. The majority of these issues are common in very young children. However, if these issues remain after a specific age, usually three years, a podiatrist should be consulted to seek remedies to minimize future postural and skeletal concerns.
Among the most frequent foot disorders in children, we can find:
Flat feet: One of the most common foot problems in children is flat feet. There is no need to be concerned before the age of three. However, if flat feet do not cause discomfort or trouble walking later on, no treatment is necessary.
Curved legs (Genu Varum): Genu varum occurs when the legs curve outward at the knees and the feet and ankles touch. Legs bowed in infants and young children are common. It is rarely dangerous and normally goes away on its own by the age of three or four.
Inward or “duck” feet: feet that point outward instead of forward are a typical problem in toddlers and young children, but they usually go away by the age of eight.
Limping child: If your child is limping, it is most likely due to foot pain caused by an injury. Limping, on the other hand, can also be caused by an illness or deformity.
Frequent falls: When a child begins to walk, falls can be frequent, but are normal. If your kid’s learning to walk is not progressing and they are still falling, you should see a podiatrist.
Tip toeing: Walking on tip toes in children who are just learning to walk is frequent and normally passes with time. If your child is still tiptoeing after the age of three, see a podiatrist.
Why should I consult a podiatrist and when should I do so?
If your child suffers any of the symptoms listed above after the age of three, do not wait to consult a podiatrist. There are a few red flags to look out for that will suggest whether you need to see a podiatrist:
- Walking fatigue: your child becomes tired rapidly when walking and complains of foot pain;
- Knee-to-knee contact: you have noticed that your child’s knees are touching in an unusual way;
- Limping: your child limps or is unable to stand up straight when walking;
- Tip toeing: you notice that your child always walks on his or her toes;
- Outward or inward pointing feet: your child may walk with his or her feet inward or outward, even if he or she has been walking for some time now.
- Stooped legs: if this persists after your child starts school, consult a podiatrist.
Instill good posture in your kids every day
Prevention and education are always the greatest approaches to lower the risk of foot issues in children. However, some conditions are hereditary and may necessitate medical intervention, such as surgery.
Sitting on one’s feet is one of the most common postural habits to prevent in children. Ideally, encourage your kid not to sit on his or her feet or in any other position where the feet are horizontal. An example is lying on your stomach with your feet pointing outside or inward. Finally, the best sleeping position for children to avoid foot problems is on their side. Your child will be in a perfect sleeping position if they cradle a pillow behind their back and between their knees.
Keep your children’s feet problem-free
Most children’s foot problems go away before they enter school. However, there are several situations that should raise your concern. If you have any doubts, contact FootNetwork for further information on children’s foot problems or to seek the advice of a podiatrist. FootNetwork is a Quebec-based network of 40 podiatry clinics across the province; there is bound to be one near you!