If you’re a parent concerned about your family’s foot care there are a few orthopedic conditions you should watch out for. While many of them are treatable with the right attention, it is necessary to identify them as early as possible in order to get your child the best care. The summer provides the opportunity to spend more time with your children during the day, so here are some tips on how to recognize common orthopedic pathologies.
Infants are naturally born with flat feet and only begin to develop arches as they mature. However, this growth can sometimes become impeded and arches will fail to form. In many cases, this condition can be completely ignored. In fact, you probably know a number of adults who live with flat feet, without suffering any significant symptoms. However, a doctor should be contacted if the condition results in pain. Arch supporters can be provided in order to provide pain relief. While ‘flatfooted’ can often be synonymous with clumsiness, children with flat feet should get an examination to rule out and prevent any potential issues.
When toddlers are learning to walk, it is common for them to develop an abnormal gait. Most often, these are conditions that children grow out of, but it is just another example of providing the right attention at the right time. The most common abnormal gait problems are in-toeing (commonly known as ‘pigeon-toed’) where the child’s foot points inward as they walk, or out-toeing, where the foot points outward. These conditions can result from twisted or misaligned shin, foot, and thigh bones. While it is important to emphasize that these conditions are usually self-correcting, some extreme cases require surgery or use of corrective shoes. Concerned parents should get an examination, and if necessary proper management, to help walk normally.
Some children will form a habit of walking on their toes often, or all the time. While this is sometimes only an odd habit, chronic toe walking could be a sign of a muscle disorder, nervous system problems, cerebral palsy, or autism. You should contact your doctor to find out for sure. If your toe walking child is free of all of these related conditions then some minor physical therapy will do the trick.
Bowed legs are legs that curve outward, leaving a wide space in between the knees while the ankles touch. It is a condition that can cause pain or tension in the leg and foot muscles. As with many of these conditions, bow-leggedness is seen often in infants and commonly resolves itself as your child matures. It can however be a sign of rickets or Blount’s disease, which can impact a child’s life long-term. If bow-leggedness occurs beyond two years of age, it may be time to consult your doctor.
As previously mentioned, many of these conditions are part of the normal development of children. A visit to your Chiropodist may become necessary if the child is experiencing pain, trouble walking, or if symptoms last beyond ages two or three. If you have any concerns a consultation with your Chiropodist can quickly identify whether or not someone in your family requires corrective treatment in order to enjoy a healthy and pain-free summer.