Children often complain of foot pain. I’ve had a majority of parents come in and tell me they typically ignore their child’s complaint, thinking it was because the child wanted attention or did not want to perform a task they had instructed them to do. Other parents tell me they ignored their infants complaint because they thought the child was complaining because he/she wanted to be carried. However, this is not always the case. Children can have foot pain, and parents tend to become more concerned when they start seeing their child limping or walking different.
A child’s foot looks much different then the adult foot. Children’s bones are not fused yet and so one normal bone in an adult can be two separate pieces in a child. When children are active, either through sports or after school activities, or just active walkers, they can develop inflammation of the area that has not been fused yet, which is called a growth plate. Growth plates are what cause the foot to grow in a child; once they are fully fused (late teens) then the foot will stop growing in size. Until that happens, it is very common to develop pain and inflammation to those areas.
One of the most common areas for growth plate injuries is the heel. The second most common place of injury is the outside of the foot, followed by the 3rd most common which is the inside of the foot below the ankle.
Treatment varies depending on the extent of injury and how active the child is. Sometimes a simple fix of using custom orthotics, which are arch supports, can help drastically alleviate pain. Other times, the patient may need to stop activities temporarily until the inflammation has subsided. Stretching exercises can help minimize inflammation and prevent any long term problems your child may face in the future. Icing is also good to help decrease inflammation.
If you notice your child starting to walk differently, or if they start complaining of pain, do not ignored them! Bring them in for a foot evaluation, chances are that they are not making up the symptoms. Our doctors are highly trained in working with the Pediatric population as well as adults. Call us today for an appointment, 813-875-0555.