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Foot Health and Your Children

Children & Foot Health

Having a child can be very stressful for some parents. And it's even more stressful when your child is sick, especially during early childhood, when the parent-child communication is quite limited. Although most parents know the basics of child healthcare, there are some conditions that require specialist care. Podiatric conditions, referring to the afflictions of the lower extremities, are ranked highly amongst the most common health problems in children.

Childhood and adolescent Podiatric conditions have an important impact on both children and their parents. Not all podiatric conditions cause movement or mobility impairment, the ones that do may require medical or surgical treatment and Physiotherapy.

Some of the most common Podiatric conditions include, but are not limited to, flat feet, bow legs or knock knees, in-toeing or out-toeing, Sever's disease, and Osgood-Schlatter disease.

Flat Feet

Flat feet refer to a medical condition in which the foot arch doesn't completely develop during early childhood. Current studies have shown no relationship between flat feet and an increased occurrence of other Podiatric or postural conditions. Some doctors may recommend the use of arch supports that are introduced into the shoes to relieve any pain. Moreover, medical treatment is usually started if arch supports aren't enough for pain relief.

Bow Legs / Knock Knees

Bow legs and knock knees refer to physical deformities of the lower extremities. While standing up with their legs close together, children with bow legs will have a gap between their knees, while their ankles are touching. In contrast, children with knock knees have their knees touching, whilst having a gap between their ankles. During early childhood, these two conditions can be treated through the use of orthoses or through surgery.

In-Toeing or Out-Toeing

The normal walking pattern of adults is with our toes facing forwards. Some children, due to genetics or external factors, can develop a form of in-toeing (when the toes are facing inwards) or out-toeing (when their toes face outwards). In the majority of cases, the defect eventually resolves itself. However, when excessive pain occurs, treatment is necessary. Treatment includes the use of orthoses and Physiotherapy.

Sever's Disease

Sever's disease, is a condition that occurs most often in teenagers, and is one of the leading causes of heel pain. It is most commonly found in active adolescents, caused by the excessive use of the heel. This causes the inflammation of the growth plates, thus causing pain. Usual treatment includes orthotic insoles, which provide a cushion for the heel, reducing direct external pressure.

Osgood-Schlatter Disease

Similar to Sever's disease, Osgood-Schlatter disease refers to the inflammation of either the bone, the cartilage or the tendon found in the upper part of your tibia. It is one of the most common causes of knee pain in active adolescents. Pain usually occurs in the knee after mild physical activity. Treatment involves Physiotherapy that relieves the pain, the use of orthoses, and pausing sports and other knee-intensive activities.