When Should Your Child See a Podiatrist?

by | Aug 23, 2017

Whether or not your child needs to see a podiatrist is something you might wonder when a son or daughter is having foot or ankle issues. On one hand, early treatment and intervention for certain medical conditions can prevent long-term problems. On the other, some issues resolve themselves in time. So how are you supposed to know when professional attention is necessary?

Well, one of the reasons to bring your child to our office is so we can assess the situation. Not all problems are easily distinguished by their symptoms. Ankle sprains and fractures, for example, both cause pain and swelling in the ankle. Now, you probably don’t have diagnostic equipment around the house to produce x-rays or MRIs, but we can order these kinds of tests to accurately diagnose the condition.

Even if you are able to establish the problem—and there are many instances where this isn’t particularly difficult—you may not know what is needed to address it. Due to our extensive training and experience, we do. Further, we can also determine why the problem developed. Sometimes it’s very easy to establish a root cause—like when pain is caused by a bowling ball dropped on a foot—but this isn’t always the case.

Understanding why your child has heel pain from normal kid activities (running around, playing sports) plays a role in knowing what to do about it. For something like this, the most likely explanation is Sever’s disease – a growing pain that develops in response to discrepancies between growth rates of the heel bone and Achilles tendon.

There are a couple of particularly common conditions that cause parents to wonder if an office visit is necessary – flatfoot and intoeing.

Intoeing is more frequently seen in toddlers and preschoolers. Typically, the condition is caused either by metatarsus adductus (abnormal inwards curvature in feet), tibial torsion (inwards turning of the shinbone), or femoral anteversion (inwards turning of the thighbone). The good news with intoeing is that the problem usually resolves itself over time, without the need for treatment. If a child reaches the age of 9 or 10 and there is still an issue, it might be time to explore surgery.

With regards to flatfoot, a child’s foot arches can be hidden under fat pads for the first couple of years. After this, it is not terribly uncommon for children to have a condition known as flexible flatfoot (while the arches develop). This process can last until around 8 years of age and is marked by feet that appear flat will the child is standing, but then arches can be observed when he or she stands on tiptoe or is seated.

Flexible flatfoot often goes away in time as the arches harden. When this doesn’t happen, treatment might be needed, but only if there is pain or issues with mobility.

Wisconsin Foot Center is here to treat every member of your family, from young to old. We provide compassionate, effective treatment to resolve child foot problems. If you live in the greater Milwaukee community and need a podiatrist to diagnose or treat a medical issue in the lower limbs, we are here to help. Simply call us at (414) 425-8400 to request an appointment today.

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