As a parent, you stay informed of so many aspects of your child’s life. She loves strawberries, but only when they’re cut. Her latest new tooth is growing a little crooked. She has had a cold for three days now. She won’t fall asleep without her special blanket. Not to add more to your overflowing plate, but it’s in your best interest to pay attention to your child’s feet, too.
Foot problems can manifest themselves in different ways. Your child might not have the vocabulary yet to tell you their feet are hurting them. They may also be young enough not to realize the pain they are experiencing is not normal. Regardless of the circumstances, being regularly aware of the condition of your child’s feet will help you catch anything abnormal early. Here are seven indicators that your child may have a foot problem.
1. Your child doesn’t engage in their favorite activities as much.
If you notice your child withdrawing from activities that used to bring them joy, take a closer look. Your child might be experiencing pain during activities. Instead of vocalizing it, they may choose to just stop participating. Pain during sports could be due to muscle strains or an inflamed growth plate. These can occur in sports that cause continual stress on the legs and may cause kids to complain of heel pain.
2. Your child trips more frequently than other children.
Children aren’t the most coordinated creatures. But, if you notice an increase in the number of times your child is tripping, consider a red flag raised. Watch your child running around with other children their age. If your child seems more clumsy, it could be due to an underlying foot issue.
3. Your child is noticeably slower.
While you watch your kid running around with peers, take note of his or her speed. Life isn’t a race, and your child doesn’t have to be the fastest, but foot issues can slow someone down. Sometimes foot issues can cause muscle problems in a child’s leg, and that combination could slow them down. If there’s a big gap between your child’s speed and the rest of the class, it might be time to visit a podiatry office.
4. Your child’s toes are inflamed.
Children can suffer from ingrown toenails. If they have pain, swelling, and redness where the toenail and the toe meet, they may have an ingrown nail. When caught early, ingrown toenails can be easy to treat. If ignored or not addressed soon enough, they may require surgery.
5. Your child has heel pain.
As the growth plate develops, if it is exposed to constant stress (such as a sport with a lot of running), it may cause Sever’s disease. This would show up as heel pain in your child.
6. Your child’s feet change.
If your child has any growths, discoloration, or swelling on their feet, watch it. These might be symptoms of a larger problem. Your child might be embarrassed or self-conscious of a change like this on their feet, so make a point to periodically check their feet for any abnormalities (especially if they do seem to be hiding them). Looking over their feet every few days can help them stay on top of any changes that may signify something worse going on.
7. Your child says they are in pain.
If your child is old enough to communicate to you that they are experiencing foot pain, listen. Foot pain in children is almost always indicative of a larger problem that needs to be addressed by a foot professional. Unless you know the source of the pain (such as stubbing the toe or stepping on a LEGO), call a podiatrist.
Some common foot problems that children might experience are permanent flat feet, misaligned feet, fungal infections or another foot fungus, plantar warts, bunions, pigeon-toeing, and Sever’s disease. By being diligent and aware of your child’s feet, you should be able to catch problems early.
If you have any concerns about your child’s feet, call a podiatrist today. A podiatrist will be able to ease your worries and help your child be healthy and pain-free.