This week, I’ll be sharing a potato head foot craft (check out the preview on the right), so I got to thinking…what happens if your kids’ feet have lumps and bumps, like an actual potato?
Although bunions are typically a grown up problem, I do see children and teens with bunions in my Houston podiatry practice. When a kid develops a bunion (known simply as a juvenile bunion) it’s a problem, and it has to be treated right away so that your child’s foot can continue proper development. With kids’ bunions, our goal is to prevent further growth and eliminate pain.
What are bunions?
Bunions are abnormal, bony bumps that form on the joint at the base of the big toe. The big toe joint becomes enlarged, pushing your toe against the smaller ones. This push puts more pressure on your big toe joint, pushing it outward and resulting in the visible bump. If left untreated, the bump continues to get bigger. It can result in pain and arthritis. Bunions can also make it hard to find shoes that fit.
Why do children get bunions?
While some grownups can blame their bunions on bad shoes, kids who get bunions usually have a family history. Many kids with bunions also have loose joints and/or flat feet—when children’s arches collapse, it puts more pressure on the big toe joints, potentially triggering bunion growth. Juvenile bunions are a bigger problem than the ones on adults for a simple reason: they’re going to have many more years to grow and progress if they aren’t treated properly.
How do I Know if my Child has a Bunion?
Unfortunately, early-stage bunions in kids are hard to catch, as they show almost no symptoms. As your child’s bunion develops, you may notice one or more of the following symptoms:
- a hard bump at the base of her big toe joint
- redness or swelling at the bottom of his big toe
- her shoes suddenly don’t fit well and it’s hard to find a new pair that does fit
- his feet hurt when walking or playing
- ‘she has flat feet
If you notice any of these bunion signs in your kids, get into your podiatrist as quickly as possible. The earlier we start treating your child’s bunion, the better his or her prognosis will be.
How Do I Treat Bunions in Children?
Treatment for kids’ bunions is based on how large the bunion has gotten by the time you’re your child. My first goal will always be to relieve any pain and to stop the bunion from getting bigger.
Some of the treatment options I consider for kids with bunions include:
- Orthotics: If your child’s posture or foot structure is the likely cause of the bunion, I may recommend orthotics. This can help reduce pressure on his or big toe joint, relieving pain and stopping the bunion’s progression.
- Change of Shoes: I’ll recommend roomy, supportive shoes with plenty of room in the toe box. This will prevent any additional pressure on your child’s big toe joint.
- Splints: I may suggest having your child wear a splint at night, to try and correct the course of the big toe joint.
- Exercises: I can teach you and your child simple moves that will strengthen smaller muscles in the feet to take some of the load off the big toe area.
- Surgery: In certain cases, we may need to operate on your child’s bunion.Especially with children, this is always the final option I recommend, once we’ve tried less invasive approaches.
As with any kids’ foot problem, it’s best to come in at the first symptom or complaint of pain. Contact our office if you suspect your child may be developing a bunion, and we’ll get you in as soon as possible!
Potato Head Foot Craft
Now that we’ve addressed the bumps on your child’s foot, let’s get to the fun stuff—capturing your child’s current foot print!
I’m not quite sure why, but almost every kid I know finds Potato Head toys endlessly entertaining. Even the big ones. Here’s a fun way to capture their growing feet, along with their unique interpretation of these wacky little toys. Hope you enjoy!
Footprint Potato Heads – from Crafty Morning
- Paint your child’s foot with a skin colored paint. Have your child make a print on the page, toes down (this will be the Potato Head body.) Repeat for multiple potato heads. (For extra fun, paint the toes a different color. Now your potato head has shoes!)
- Using your creativity, help your child draw on additional features and accessories to resemble your favorite potato head configuration.
- Repeat again and again for lots of fun and memories!