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Properly caring for the feet during childhood can help prevent foot problems in adulthood. It is important to take good care of a child's feet because they are in a critical stage of development when bone deformities first become apparent and injuries to the growth plate are more likely to occur.
Children may suffer from foot conditions that are inherited or caused by trauma or ill-fitting shoes. Fortunately, many common foot ailments in children can be prevented, and more serious conditions, such as bone deformities, can be corrected with proper treatment.
Foot ailments in children
Children may suffer from the following foot conditions:
Club foot (short tendons cause the foot to bend downward and inward).
Freiberg’s disease (injury to the growth plate that causes pain in the ball of the foot).
Gordon’s Syndrome (toe joints are fixed in a flexed position).
Kohler’s disease (bone disorder due to loss of blood supply).
Osteochondroma (benign growth that forms at the end of the toes).
Sever’s disease (injury to the growth plate that causes heel pain).
Foot care for children – tips and recommendations
Foot problems that begin during childhood can often be treated to prevent more serious conditions in adulthood.
Wearing shoes that do not fit properly can cause blisters and structural problems, such as curling of the toes or a high arch. These make a child more susceptible to foot injuries later in life, therefore it is extremely important for children to wear shoes that fit properly and have a little growing room. Typically, shoes must be replaced every few months. Children who have flat feet or high arches may benefit from insoles or arch supports that keep the foot properly aligned. Stretching exercises are also important to help loosen the muscles and tendons; this can prevent injury and may be beneficial in correcting a deformity in which the tendons are too tight.
Regular foot health checks
Children may not realize or be able to express when they have a foot ailment, so it is important to keep an eye out for any abnormalities or symptoms such as blisters or limping. All foot conditions should be addressed as soon as possible.
If a child has a foot deformity or is experiencing foot pain, it is important to seek treatment from a medical professional as soon as possible. If left untreated, the condition may lead to further problems down the road.