Children’s Feet

Children's Feet Health

At birth the bones in our feet are soft and have not yet fully formed. It will take up until we are in our mid-late teens before the foot bones are fully developed and have ‘hardened’ (also known as ‘ossified’). The development of a child’s foot is aligned with the stages of functional development – from learning to crawl, starting to walk as a baby/toddler to walking in an adult manner. Therefore it is very important that your child’s feet are protected by the right size of baby-grow, socks and shoes as they go through each stage.

The most common problems that children tend to have with their feet.

Calcaneal apophysitis (Severs Disease) - Is a painful inflammation of the heel’s growth plate. It typically affects children between the ages of 8 and 14 years old because the heel bone (calcaneus) is not fully developed until at least age 14. Until then, new bone is forming at the growth plate (physis), a weak area located at the back of the heel. When there is too much repetitive stress on the growth plate, inflammation can develop.
Paediatric Flatfoot - Most children with flat feet have no symptoms. However, sometimes they may have trouble participating in physical activities or sports or may appear to walk or run awkwardly. Some complain of pain or cramping in their feet, legs or knees. Any pain or difficulty with a child’s feet should be evaluated.
In-toeing or Out-toeing - In-toeing or out-toeing in children may occur as part of normal development as the bones in the feet and legs develop towards their adult state. If you are concerned about the way your child walks and want some advice about how best to manage in or out-toeing, you should seek the advice of a Podiatrist who will assess your child according to their stage of development and advise you accordingly.
Tip-toe walking - Some children just like to walk around on their tip-toes and it becomes a habit! However, if the child is unable to get their heel to the floor they may have other problems such as tight tendons around the heel and ankle. This type of problem may require a special exercise programme to stretch out the muscles and tendons and sometimes insoles to help support the foot. A podiatrist can assess your child appropriately and can refer you to a Physiotherapist for effective exercises.
Ingrowing toenails - Tight shoes or socks or incorrect nail trimming are the most common cause of ingrown toenails in children, although sometimes the tendency for nails to curve inward is inherited. When the nail breaks the skin, serious infections can result. Parents should never try to dig the nail out at home; treatment by a doctor is advised.
Verrucaes - Verrucaes can develop anywhere on the foot, but they typically appear on the bottom (plantar side) of the foot. Plantar warts, which are caused by the human papilloma virus, the same virus that causes warts on other parts of the body, commonly occur in children and adolescents.