Preventing Common Pediatric Foot Problems
At Pasco-Hernando Foot & Ankle we treat patients of all ages. Our younger patients are particularly susceptible to certain conditions. As parents, there are ways you can help your children avoid common foot and ankle problems.
Check Shoes Frequently—children’s feet are notorious for growing quickly—as much as half a size in 3-6 months. Be sure to feel where your child’s big toe is in relation to the front of the shoe weekly. If they get a blister or red spot on their foot, that may also be a sign that they’ve outgrown their shoes. Watch for signs of wear too. Stretched out backs can cause ankle sprains, trips and fall.
Monitor Sports Activities—Sever’s Disease, a condition where the still-developing area at the back of the heel becomes inflamed, is one of several “overuse” disorders. Limit the amount of time your child spends practicing and playing the same sport. Repetitive strain to the same part of the foot can result in stress fractures and other disorders, especially in feet that are still growing. Children and young adult feet need time to rest.
Educate to Avoid Infection—what do warts, athlete’s foot and fungal toenails all have in common? They are highly contagious and are spread by direct contact. Teach your children not to share shoes, socks, towels, flip flops or any other items that another child uses on their feet. Make sure your children know to wear flip flops or shower shoes at the community pool, gym locker room and other public places.
Inspect Feet Regularly—look for growths, rashes, bruising, swelling, changes in skin and toenails. Report anything unusual to our podiatrist, Dr. Lawrence J. Kales, promptly. Like adults, children’s foot issues are most successfully dealt with in their earliest stages.
Be on the Lookout for Signs of Pain—if your child is suddenly not interested in physical activities and games they normally enjoy, it may be a sign of foot or ankle pain. Watch for other indicators: frequently tripping or falling, complaining that their feet “feel tired,” walking in an odd way or on tip toes. And, of course, if your children tell you that their feet hurt, listen and contact our Spring Hill (352 683-5799) or Hudson (727-868-2128) office for an appointment.