At Paul Klein, DPM FACFAS we frequently treat children as well as adults. Children are a unique population, and our experience reveals some important ways parents can help improve their foot and ankle health. Here are some pediatric foot health facts and tips for preventing podiatric disorders in young patients.
Children are more susceptible than adults to skin and toenail disorders.
Warts, athlete’s foot, and fungal toenails are all fairly common in children. This is due in large part to their habits. Children tend to be very physical and touch each other often, and these types of infections are all easily transmitted by direct contact. They can also be picked up in public places if children walk barefoot and by sharing flip flops, towels, socks or other items that touch another child’s feet.
Young patients may not speak up about foot or ankle pain.
Sometimes very young children can’t explain specifically what’s bothering them, but they know it doesn’t feel good to walk or be on their feet. Parents need to be detectives and watch for clues that their child may be experiencing foot pain. These include lagging behind friends in play, saying they don’t want to participate in sports or games they usually enjoy and walking in a funny way.
Repetitive activities can negatively impact developing feet.
Although sports are a good way for children to stay active and develop teamwork skills, they can be harmful to young feet if proper rest is not interspersed with activity. One condition, in particular, Sever’s disease, can cause extreme pain in the heel due to repetitive pounding from activities like running, basketball and soccer. The growth plate at the back of the heel is still developing until a child reaches about the age of 15. This leaves a tender area exposed at the back of the heel that can be inflamed if a child overdoes it with an activity then puts pressure on the heel.
A daily care regimen is key for catching pediatric foot problems early.
Washing your children’s feet daily (and teaching older children to do this for themselves) can reduce the risk of foot infections. It’s also a good opportunity to examine your child’s feet and look for unusual changes in the skin or nails as well as lumps, growths, bruises or other suspicious symptoms. If you notice anything that seems concerning, contact our Wayne office by calling: (973) 595-1555. Our podiatrist, Dr. Paul G. Klein, at North Jersey Podiatry will examine your child’s foot and determine if a foot or ankle disorder is present.