Podiatry for Children: Ailments and Injuries

When it comes to ailments and injuries related to a child’s feet or ankles, finding an experienced podiatrist vs. a pediatrician will minimize the number of doctor appointments and lead to a faster overall recovery. Like adults, children are susceptible to developmental issues, sports accidents, or even a lack of proper hygiene. Here are a few examples of what The Foot & Ankle Center treats for children.

Development-Related Ailments

There are multiple ailments that people are either born with or experience while growing up. The sooner these are recognized, the better. This is especially true when it comes to the lower body, as taking one’s first steps is a major milestone. Examples include:

  • Flat Feet – With little to no arch, one’s feet may lay flat on the ground, unable to provide proper support for the rest of the body. This is one of the first developmental issues a parent may notice. However, a baby’s arch does need time to form.
  • Hammertoes – Toes that cannot bend or flex properly. They tend to form when the toe’s muscles, ligaments, tendons and joints experience a significant amount of pressure. Flat feet are a leading cause, with genetics also taking a main role.
  • Bone Spurs – Extra bones that the body will produce as growths. While typically formed in order to repair damage from aging and osteoarthritis, it is possible to be found in children following their birth.

Sports-Related Injuries

As children become more active in sports, they also become more prone to injury. This is why wearing the proper gear is essential. Each sport comes with a different risk, but most injuries can be avoided. Examples include:

  • Plantar Fasciitis – A common form of inflammation found in the heel. For a child, this type of injury can occur after prolonged activities involving running or dancing.
  • Tendinitis – Another form inflammation found in the tendons of children who are just beginning a sport. If they are not used to moving around at a fast pace, their tendons may become aggravated and cause pain. 
  • Stress Fractures – Hairline breaks in the bone often caused by a repeated action that involves a high amount of impact or stress. This includes activities like jumping or stomping.

Hygiene-Related Ailments

Improper hygiene can result in several ailments in the feet. According to the CDC, many diseases and conditions can be prevented or controlled through appropriate personal hygiene and by frequently washing parts of the body and hair with soap and clean, running water. Examples include:

  • Athlete’s Foot – A fungus found on the skin, caused by damp environments. Children most likely encounter this when they do not change out of sweaty socks or forget to dry their feet after a trip to a public pool.
  • Ingrown Toenails – Toenails that have grown into one’s skin. When nails are not properly cut, the result is pain and infection.
  • Toenail Fungus – An infection that thrives on the toenail or underneath the skin. Having a yellow appearance, this fungus causes the nails to thicken and easily break off. Athlete’s foot, if left untreated, can be a leading cause.

Kid-Friendly Doctors

Our knowledgeable doctors at The Foot & Ankle Center work with patients of all ages on a daily basis. They will assess your child’s needs and recommend treatment that is specialized to them. A few of our doctors are parents, too! Feel free to meet each of them online before scheduling an appointment. Then, request an appointment by emailing judym@facstl.com, or filling out our appointment form online.