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4 Common Foot and Ankle Conditions in Children

4 Common Foot and Ankle Conditions in Children

It’s hard to beat the joy that comes from watching a child running around or playing in the big game. But even though they’re young and resilient, their feet are still developing. That leaves them susceptible to certain conditions and injuries.

Our team works with people of all ages at Premier Foot and Ankle Center, including children. One of our priorities is keeping kids active so they can thrive well into adulthood. And that means taking good care of their feet.

If you have a child, here are four common foot and ankle conditions you shouldn’t miss.

Plantar warts

Anyone can get warts on the soles of their feet, but they’re surprisingly common in children and teenagers. That’s because plantar warts are a result of a virus that invades the skin. But people often have developed more immunity to this virus by adulthood.

Warts may not be life-threatening, but they can make walking painful. When ignored, they can also grow to an inch or more in size and spread.

It’s easy to confuse a plantar wart for a corn or callus since they often look like rough, dead skin. But they typically have a discolored appearance with a center of black pinpoints.

Structural problems

You may associate many foot issues with adulthood, like hammertoes, bunions, and ingrown toenails. But these problems are surprisingly common in children, too — just like structural issues.

Structural foot and ankle problems that often affect kids include:

Structural issues can also affect the bones, tendons, and muscles, leading to gait problems, such as in-toeing, toe walking, knock knees, and bow legs.

Sometimes, children grow out of these problems. Others need specialized treatment, ranging from physical therapy and bracing to foot surgery.

Heel pain

Most adults have had sore feet from time to time, especially after a long day. But it can indicate a bigger issue in kids, especially when it involves the heel.

Children’s bones have special areas known as growth plates. They are near the ends, and they contain cartilage.

Once a child is fully grown, solid bone replaces the growth plate. Before then, the area is much weaker than other tissue in the area and susceptible to trauma.

Heel pain can arise from several problems, but it’s often associated with Sever’s disease in children. It is seen when the growth plate in the heel becomes inflamed.

Sever’s disease may develop from repetitive stress, especially during growth spurts.

Overuse injuries

Sports and physical activity are essential aspects of raising healthy children, but too much of a good thing can cause foot and ankle problems.

In recent years, experts have seen a significant increase in overuse injuries in kids, especially involving the feet. One common example is stress fractures.

Stress fractures develop when bones become overloaded with stress. This strain causes small cracks to form, usually in weight-bearing areas of the body, like the feet. They can also occur in growth plates.

Stress fractures could take 6-8 weeks to heal. During that time, the area needs rest and sometimes a cast or bracing.

Without proper treatment and rehabilitation, stress fractures can redevelop and lead to chronic problems.

Does your child have a foot or ankle problem? Schedule a consultation with our experts at Premier Foot and Ankle Center. Our team in Worcester and Webster, Massachusetts, can ensure that your child receives the care they need to improve their mobility and quality of life.

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