As a parent, you already know how important it is to take care of your child’s health. That’s why you take them to the dentist or a pediatrician to keep diseases and complications at bay.
The same goes for your children’s feet. They need to get checked by a podiatrist for foot problems that may lead to discomfort, and pain, and even impact their overall physical development.
Before we dive into the importance of children’s podiatry, let’s first define this medical practice.
What is pediatric podiatry?
Pediatric podiatry, also known as children’s podiatry, is a specialised field of medicine that focuses on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of foot and ankle problems in children.
A pediatric podiatrist, on the other hand, is a medical professional who specialises in caring for the foot and ankle health of infants, children, and adolescents.
The foot and ankle health of children is crucial for their overall health and development, as it can affect their posture, gait, and physical activity. Pediatric podiatrists are trained to diagnose and treat a wide range of foot and ankle conditions.
Common foot problems in children
Children can experience a variety of foot problems, which can affect their mobility, comfort, and overall health. Here are some of the most common foot problems in children:
- Flat feet – this is a condition where the foot arch is low or non-existent. Flat feet can cause foot and ankle pain and affect a child’s gait or walking pattern.
- Ingrown toenails – this occurs when the corner of a toenail grows into the surrounding skin, causing pain, redness, and swelling. It can be caused by tight-fitting shoes, improper toenail trimming, or trauma to the toe.
- Plantar warts – these are noncancerous growths on the sole, caused by a virus. Plantar warts can be painful and affect a child’s ability to walk or run.
- Sever’s disease – this is a condition that affects the growth plate in the heel bone, causing pain and discomfort. It is more common in active children and adolescents who participate in sports.
- Overuse injuries – Children who participate in sports or other physical activities may be at risk for overuse injuries, such as stress fractures, tendonitis, or shin splints.
- Toe walking – this is a condition where a child walks on their toes instead of their heels. Toe walking can be caused by neurological or developmental issues or can be a habit.
- Metatarsus adductus – this is a condition where the front part of the foot turns inward. It can cause a child to walk on the inside of their foot and can affect their gait.
If you suspect that your child is experiencing any foot problems, it’s important to consult a pediatric podiatrist for diagnosis and treatment. Early intervention can help prevent long-term foot problems and ensure your child’s overall health and well-being.
Benefits of podiatry for kids
Podiatry is undoubtedly an important practice in the medical field. Here’s how you and your kids can benefit from it:
- Early detection and treatment of foot problems.
Pediatric podiatrists are trained to identify foot problems in children at an early stage before they become more severe or cause discomfort. Early intervention can help prevent long-term foot problems and ensure proper foot development.
- Improved mobility.
Foot problems can limit a child’s mobility and physical activity, which can impact their overall health and well-being. With proper treatment, children can regain mobility and participate in their favourite activities.
- Pain relief.
Foot problems can be painful and uncomfortable for children, which can affect their quality of life. Podiatrists can help relieve pain and discomfort associated with foot problems, allowing children to move and play without discomfort.
- Improved posture and gait.
Foot problems can affect a child’s posture and gait, leading to imbalances and compensations in other parts of the body. Podiatrists can help correct these issues and improve a child’s posture and gait.
- Prevention of sports injuries.
Children who participate in sports are at risk for foot and ankle injuries. Podiatrists can provide preventative care and help prevent injuries, allowing children to participate in sports safely.
- Customised treatment plans.
Podiatrists can develop individualized treatment plans for each child, taking into account their specific foot problems and medical history.
Overall, pediatric podiatry can offer numerous benefits for children, improving their foot health, mobility, and overall quality of life. It is important to seek the advice of a qualified pediatric podiatrist if you suspect your child may be experiencing foot problems.
At what age should a child see a podiatrist?
It is recommended that children have their first podiatry evaluation by the age of 1, and if any concerns arise, parents should seek care as soon as possible. Early evaluation by a podiatrist can help to identify any potential issues and prevent them from progressing or causing more significant problems.
Children should continue to see a podiatrist regularly throughout their childhood, especially if they have any risk factors for foot problems, such as a family history of foot conditions, flat feet, or other medical conditions that affect the feet.
It’s also important to seek care from a podiatrist if your child complains of foot pain, discomfort, or any changes in their walking pattern or gait. Early intervention can help prevent further complications and improve your child’s overall foot health.
Start your child’s foot care with Watsonia Podiatry
Here at Watsonia Podiatry, we are passionate about providing high-quality podiatry care for children. By bringing your child to our clinic for a foot assessment, we can identify any potential issues and develop a customized foot care plan to keep their feet healthy and pain-free.
Don’t let foot problems impact your child’s quality of life. Call us today to schedule your child’s foot assessment and take the first step towards healthy feet!