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Possible Foot Problems in Kids
Children. The little miracles of life. As their parents, it is your chief responsibility to make sure they grow up happy and healthy. One area in particular that should demand your attention is the development of your child’s feet. Often overlooked and taken for granted, such milestones as standing upright, bearing weight, walking and running rely on the proper development of these crucial parts of the body. Keeping this in mind, there are a lot of common issues that may afflict the feet as an infant grows into a toddler and further into a young child. And while it may seem like a daunting task to make sure all is well in their development despite these common problems, there are several easy ways to ensure that your child can still develop without issue.
Ingrown ToenailsOne of the more common issues that occur in the development of your child’s feet may be an ingrown toenail. Simply put, this is a toenail whose growth pattern has caused it to embed itself partially into the skin of the toe itself, most commonly in the big toe. This often results in pain, redness, swelling and even infection if not treated in a timely manner, which could further cause undue discharge from the site.
The causes of an ingrown toenail can range anywhere from the kind of footwear your child uses to an injury that the child may have suffered, even simply to caring improperly for the toe nails themselves. But, as numerous as the causes of the problem are, the remedies are just as plentiful. If your child develops an ingrown toenail, many begin by attempting to lift the nail from within the embedded skin and trimming it. You can also change your child’s footwear so as to accommodate their feet more comfortably, giving the nail space to grow as well as allow the foot itself to develop without constriction. In more serious cases, surgery can be a potential option. However, more often than not, home remedies have been known to provide the needed solution. Parents of children who are known to have diabetes are also advised to take extra precautions.
In normal development for a child, infants and toddlers develop arches under their feet after they begin supporting their own weight and walking on a regular basis. Sometimes, however, this may not be the case. In circumstances like this, the child has what is aptly called “flat feet,” where more surface area of their foot is in contact with the ground. Another telltale sign may be when a child’s feet are turned inward while in stride, often referred to as “weak ankles.” Flat feet can also be associated with congenital defects. Even though some parents are known to worry about clumsiness and may be tempted to discourage higher levels of activity, this won’t prove to be much of an issue much of the time. Often, a child will suffer little to no adverse effects from being flat-footed. It only becomes problematic and requires treatment when associated with pain in the feet and legs or with difficulty walking. Corrective treatment such as orthotics and arch supports may still be used even in cases when this is not a factor.
Plantar warts are the result of a viral infection that takes place on the foot, often on the sole where the foot is most susceptible to what is known as microtrauma, or minuscule injury to the body. Due to their general appearance, they can often be mistaken for callouses or corns, so be advised to look for what can be most simply described as “seeds” within the lesion itself. Being the product of a virus, warts are contagious, easily spread in situations and areas where skin is exposed, from public pools and showers to group yoga or martial arts. Warts occurring on the soles of the feet can easily cause pain and discomfort when attempting to support weight.
There exist many home remedies to deal with plantar warts, several of which can likely be found in your local pharmacy. The most common and often safest are some medicinal formulas like Compound W or Occlusal that include the compound known as salicylic acid, but prescription-free, home cryotherapy kits can also be purchased. For the do-it-yourselfers, duct tape has even been known as a treatment in what is called “tape occlusion,” where the wart is covered for long periods of time. If there is still cause for concern or you simply want an expert opinion, you may always see a health care professional such as a podiatrist. They may conduct a technique known as “paring,” an often-painless practice where the dead cells that lie on the surface of the wart are trimmed off so the health care professional may further inspect the wart itself.
Heel pain in children can be the result of something as minor as an injury while at play or it can be the result of an underlying cause. Some heel pain develops due to plantar fasciitis, inflammation of an area around the heel where the plantar fascia attaches itself, often with activity or after rest. Pain will tend to isolate on the bottom of the heel. Many ways exist to remedy plantar fasciitis; you can use ice, as is the case with most inflammation. If your child’s activity level was relatively high, you might encourage him or her to rest their foot to reduce swelling. You could also encourage your child to stretch his or her feet. This will also relieve pain that is commonly associated with the inflammation.
If the pain is located toward the back of the heel, it could be due to what is known as Sever’s disease. Despite the name, Sever’s disease is a common condition associated with growth spurts in children, especially those who are especially physically active. The pain associated originates from swelling around the growth plates in the child’s foot or from a tightness around the Achilles tendon attached to the rear of the heel. Often, this tends to resolve itself as the child progresses through his or her growth spurt and the cartilage fully develops into bone.