If your child is complaining about their feet hurting, do not ignore it. Foot problems often go undiagnosed in children, which can ultimately cause long-term problems. Look out for symptoms and potential causes so that your child can get treated. Children are active and the higher levels of physical strain can cause more aching than usual, but that doesn’t mean other underlying causes aren’t there.
Developing Flat Feet
Being flat footed is a very common foot condition where the arches in your feet have fallen or are lower than the average foot so that the soles of your feet touch the floor when standing up. This condition starts in childhood. While a flat foot is normal in infants and toddlers because the arch has not developed yet, but once the child is older and still fails to develop arches, that is when the pain can start to occur. The pain usually worsens with activity, so if your child is noticing pain around the heel or the arch area, it may be from flat feet. Simply getting shoe inserts especially into shoes meant for sports or walking can help correct the foot.
This disease is actually called Severs Disease, but it is known most commonly as ‘painful heel’. It is caused by the growth plate being disturbed, and so this condition usually affects kids active in sports because of the repetitive stress. A painful heel is an aching pain on the bottom of the heel that can cause limping from the pain and discomfort it causes.
Clubfoot is a condition that is present at birth. The foot is seen to be in an awkward position and at an angle or twisted shape, but levels of severity differ from child to child. The cause for this is due to the tissues connecting the muscles to the bone are shorter than normal. If your child has severe clubfoot and is not treated, it can end up causing complications such as arthritis and abnormal walking and running.
This condition is one to look out for from ages 9 to 14. It causes a stiffness in the feet that leads to severe pain and prohibits movement, sometimes all together in the foot (or both). Tarsal Coalitions is when the tarsal bones in the foot connect improperly. Be aware that this condition is hard to diagnose until the child’s bones mature.
Growth Plate Injuries
This kind of injury is typically from an injury on the foot or ankle. This may be from a sport, simply landing wrong, or any activity to cause a break or sprain. The break or sprain can then damage the growth plate.
A damaged growth plate can either cause the bone to be deformed or that the bone stops growing altogether. Children are in their vital stages of growing, so an injured growth plate can be severe if left ignored or undiagnosed.
Although there can be many reasons for foot pain in kids, it is recommended to keep an eye out and see a doctor if necessary. Waiting for the pain to go away by itself can be a risk especially if it is a condition that has consequences for waiting. Kids are very active, so being able to use their feet is important!