Children and teenagers may experience foot pain that affects their play and general activity. There are a number of common podiatric conditions which present in children:
Over-pronation, characterised by inward rolling of the feet and ankles, either as a result of flat feet or other causes, can sometimes result in ankle, knee, hip or lower back pain. These conditions often resolve with age, however footwear and some form of innersole, wedge or prefabricated orthoses are sometimes recommended to provide support and assist in pain relief.
In children, pain around the heels is usually a sign of Calcaneal Apophysitis. Calcaneal Apophysitis will ultimately resolve as the growth plate around the heel bone fully develops and the growth plate closes by approximately age 15. Early treatment can relieve discomfort and maintain participation in daily activities and sport.
This variant of knee pain is often caused by overuse of the muscles in the thigh in growing adolescents, and poor biomechanics can be a contributing factor. There are a variety of in-shoe supports that may aid pain relief if biomechanics are a contributing factor.
Ingrown toenails can be present at birth and are common in growing feet, particularly as shoes become too tight. Clinical treatment is recommended to avoid infection, and minor surgery may be required for more serious cases.
Warts and Athlete’s foot are the most common virus and fungal infections affecting children. The viral and fungal pathogens often thrive in dark and moist environments i.e. swimming pools. There are many simple, in-clinic treatments that can assist with eliminating these infections.
These are seen to varying degrees in children under the age of eight years. If the gait concern is causing pain or not reducing in severity with time, further examination should be considered.