As parents, it’s only natural to be concerned about our children, want them to grow healthy and strong, and want to promptly address any health issues so they can go about their days without being held back by pain or discomfort. When it comes to the feet and legs, however, it can be difficult to know whether what we’re seeing is normal, or whether it could be a warning sign that should be checked.
Being parents ourselves, we absolutely get it – so have put together seven of the signs that tell us that a child should have an assessment with their podiatrist to check their foot and leg health.
1. Pain That Persists, Or Keeps Coming Back
Our body is an extremely complex and sophisticated system that is designed to help us survive and thrive, while keeping us away from danger. It uses pain as our warning sign, that either something is going wrong, or is about to be. That’s why if your child is experiencing pain in their feet, legs or knees, and it doesn’t settle after a day or two and keeps returning with certain activities like sports or running, this is a sign to assess what is going on and get checked by your podiatrist.
2. Experiencing ‘Growing Pains’
At some point, growing pains became associated with the idea that they are a normal part of childhood and aging, and there was nothing that could be done aside from waiting them out – much like the pain of new teeth breaking through the gums in toddlers. In this case, this is quite far from the truth.
Growing pains have a specific medical cause, occurring when tension is placed onto a growth plate by a nearby tendon, irritating the growth plate and leading to pain and inflammation. We often see this with the tight pull of the Achilles tendon on the back of the heel, where a growth plate is directly located (you can read more about this, known as Sever’s Disease, here). Thankfully, the tension from a tight tendon can actually be eased in a number of ways to help reduce the symptoms, and then give permanent relief.
3. Interruptions To Sports Or Social Activities
If your child has progressed from being able to spend all day playing, to hesitating, withdrawing or being unable to participate in activities as a result of something to do with their feet and legs, then that’s a sign to bring them in to see a podiatrist. This may be something like having a foot that is in-toeing, making them prone to regular tripping and falling.
4. Can’t Keep Up With Their Classmates
If your kids can’t seem to keep up with their peers in the same age group, then it is worth investigating to see what could be going on. Many times, it is related to the biomechanics of their feet – meaning how effectively their bones, joints and muscles work together to keep them running and playing all day. When there is an issue with biomechanics or foot posture, it can cause the supporting muscles of the feet and legs to work much harder than they otherwise would, leading to them tiring and aching much faster. This is not uncommon in kids with flat feet among other foot postures. Addressing these biomechanical abnormalities can get muscles working as they should, and help improve your child’s performance, as well as removing any discomfort.
5. Regular Tripping Or Falling
If your child is tripping or falling over noticeably often, it could be an abnormality in the position of the feet or the way the feet/legs move during gait. It may also be due to a neuromuscular condition where the muscles are lacking the strength needed to clear the ground or function regularly. Through an assessment of the feet and legs, we are able to identify and address the cause to correct the issue and help stop abnormal falls.
6. Weakness, Instability Or Balance Issues
If you notice that your child’s ankle or knee joints feel unstable or weak, or they’re having issues with their balance, this is a clear sign to bring them in for an appointment. Underlying causes of this can include damage to the ligaments or muscles that result in weakness, muscular imbalances, neuromuscular conditions, and more. As all of these signs have the potential to lead to painful injuries like sprains or falls, and can often immediately be supported with bracing to kickstart their rehab plan, it’s a good idea to bring your kids in for an assessment promptly.
7. Redness, Lumps Or Bumps On The Feet
If you notice any long standing redness, lumps or bumps on your child’s feet, then that is also a sign to bring them in, as red bumps don’t appear for no reason. They may have corns, calluses or warts that we can treat, the redness could be signs of rubbing from their shoes that we can address, or they may have developed a fungal skin infection. Either way, our experienced podiatry team can help.
Appointments Made For Kids
We know that it can feel daunting to bring the kids for an appointment where you’re not sure how they’ll react, which is why we go above and beyond to help kids and parents feel right at home with our clinic, and our staff. Our team has built an excellent reputation on delivering exceptional foot care, and loves helping kids be able to enjoy their days without foot pain.
We’re committed to keeping kids happy, healthy, active. Book your appointment with our team online here, or call us on 09 523 2333