It’s as simple as this…no child’s foot should hurt. It doesn’t matter what shoes they’re wearing. It doesn’t matter what sport they’re playing. Foot pain should not slow down your kids ever.
But it does happen. When it does, you shouldn’t hesitate to bring your child in to see Houston pediatric podiatrist Dr. Andrew Schneider. For one, with three kids of his own, he knows how to relate to your child. He’ll make sure the experience is a good one. Also, Dr. Schneider loves treating kids. He is gratified when a child starts to love being active again when the foot pain is gone.
Let’s Start with Baby Feet
If you notice something with your infant’s feet, you should say something. For instance, if you’re seeing a toe popping up or crossing over, a short visit to our office will give you piece of mind. Most of the conditions that you see on baby feet are easily dealt with without using a procedure. Sometimes, we won’t address an issue until your baby has grown.
Putting Shoes on Infants
I’ll often see babies who are wearing shoes. I don’t mean soft bootie or socks, which are all okay. I mean regular shoes. When I ask mom about it, the most common answer is that it “matches the outfit.”
I’ll admit, it’s cute. But it is not healthy to put shoes on your infant before she is able to walk on her own. You see, there are a lot of nerves in the feet that are responsible for balance. When a shoe is covering the foot, the baby is unable to get the “feel of the feet” for balance. This may extend the time before your baby starts to walk independently.
So, resist the temptation to put shoes on your baby until he is walking on his own. It makes a big difference in the development of your child.
Is Your Child Walking Right?
Once your child is walking, you may notice some things that don’t seem right to you. Once again, it’s a perfect time to come into the office for a check to give you piece of mind. Plus, if we catch something early, it’s easier to treat.
Some common walking issues you may want to look for:
It’s normal for a toddler to have a flat foot until age 2. That’s because a child that age has a very thick fat pad on the bottom of the foot. Also, the arch doesn’t fully develop until age 6. If your child’s ankles roll in, that’s a sign of a mechanical instability. That’s something that may cause problems later on. In these cases, I often use a pediatric medical-grade insole called Little Steps. These usually fit the bill to getting the feet and ankles in a better position.
Some kids start walking and don’t put their heels on the ground. Sometimes this is because of a tight Achilles tendon. Most of the time, however, it is sensory. They just don’t like how it feels. This is a habit worth addressing.
As your toddler walks on her toes, the Achilles tendon can shorten. This can lead to heel pain as an adolescent or adult. We can address this with Little Steps orthotics and a stretching regiment. We might even use some physical therapy, too.
In-Toeing or Pigeon Toed
You may notice your child walking with the toes facing each other. You may also notice your child tripping a lot when he runs. This happens because the leg bones don’t completely rotate during development. So, we can help them out. I use specialized insoles called gait plates to help promote the legs to rotate. This will cause the feet to straighten.
Stopping and Sitting Whenever Possible
Toddlers have a hard time expressing pain. You may be walking through a store and your child decides he’s had enough. He sits down and won’t move. This a not a sign of your toddler being stubborn. This is often a sign that she is experiencing pain. If this happens once in a while, it’s not a big deal. If it’s a common occurrence, come into the office. Houston pediatric podiatrist Dr. Andrew Schneider will be happy to check it out.
Common Skin Problems in Children
It is very common for children to develop some issues affecting the skin. The most common of these are ingrown toenails and plantar warts.
An ingrown toenail occurs when the side of the toenail embeds in the surrounding skin. Usually this is because of genetics. The toenail grows too wide for the nail bed. As a result, it digs into the skin. Sometimes, an ingrown toenail can be caused by improper cutting of the nail.
The treatment for an ingrown toenail is straight forward. I start by numbing the toe. (That’s the only uncomfortable part of the procedure.) After that, I trim back the ingrowing part of the nail and remove it from the skin. If it is a recurrent problem, I can do the procedure, so the ingrown toenail doesn’t return.
Plantar warts are a manifestation of the HPV virus. It gets into your system through a crack in the skin. The warts that are left behind are stubborn. In the past, the treatments for plantar warts were pretty painful. In our Houston podiatry office, we use a new treatment called Swift.
The Swift treatment for warts uses low-dose microwave energy. This exposes the virus proteins and allow your body to fight it off. The treatment is much more comfortable than conventional treatments for warts. That's what makes it perfect for kids. It takes about 3 treatments to cure the warts and there is a very low recurrence rate.
Sports Injuries in Children
As your child grows and is more active in sports, she is at greater risk of injury. Much of the pain a student athlete feels comes as heel pain. The most common causes of heel pain in children are:
Sever’s Disease (Calcaneal Apophysitis)
Sever’s disease is an inflammation in the growth plate at the back of the heel. The Achilles tendon pulls repeatedly on it and causes micro-trauma. Your child will complain of pain in the back of the heel while participating in sports. Some kids need to stop practicing or come out of a game because the pain is too severe.
Treating Sever’s disease is successful and usually quick. We’ll address the inflammation with anti-inflammatory medication and applying ice. I’ll introduce a stretching program to your child. We’ll also work with insoles to lessen the pull of the Achilles tendon on the heel.
Active kids playing sports are at risk for developing a stress fracture. This is due to the repetitive stress that the heel bone experiences with each step your child takes. You may recognize a stress fracture of the heel bone with some common symptoms:
- Severe pain
- Bruising around and under the heel
- Difficulty putting weight on the foot.
It’s essential that we identify a stress fracture as early as possible. Treatment for a stress fracture of the heel includes taking a break from sports. We will also immobilize the foot in a fracture boot. Anti-inflammatory medication will be used to manage inflammation and pain. Most kids completely recover from stress fractures and are able to return to their sport.
Visit Houston Pediatric Podiatrist Dr. Andrew Schneider
Sometimes you need your child’s feet checked for peace of mind. Sometimes there might be treatment involved. Either way, at Tanglewood Foot Specialists we will make you and your child feel comfortable.
Dr. Schneider explains the situation in words that your child will understand. He is not satisfied until everyone involved understands what the plan is. If you are noticing that your kiddo is experiencing any foot pain or problem, don't wait! Contact Houston pediatric podiatrist Dr. Andrew Schneider. We’ll get you in for an immediate appointment.