Common Foot and Lower Limb Problems in Children:
If you notice that your child is limping on a regular basis, look for signs such as walking on their toes, in-toeing, out-toeing or if knock knees or bow legs are resulting in abnormal walking. Toes may also be overlapping or underlying which can be signs of an injury or a biomechanical problem.
Exercise is both physically and mentally beneficial for children, but encouraging your kids to be active is hard when their feet hurt. Many children experience injuries if they play or stand for prolonged periods, especially on hard surfaces.
Since young feet and legs are still growing and forming they are susceptible to growing pains which can be extremely unpleasant. Other problems include flat feet or fallen arches, which should be seen by a podiatrist as soon as possible as if these problems are corrected early, the tendons and muscles grow normally and result in a normal adult foot.
Many children experience problems with their skin and nails. As they are more susceptible to fungal infections and often get warts and athlete’s foot, children should wear flip-flops around the pool and showers at school and gym to avoid exposure to these infections.
Growth of your Child’s Foot
Children under approximately 18 months grow more than half a foot size every two months. Toddlers between 18 and 24 months grow an average of half a foot size every three months. Children between 24 and 36 months grow approximately half a foot size every four months and over three years old the foot grows at a rate of half a foot every six months.
Tips for parents
- Inspect your child’s feet regularly.
- Allow your baby to kick freely so that normal muscle development can occur.
- Do not force your child to walk – average walking age is 10 – 18 months.
- Encourage barefoot walking on suitable surfaces (sand, grass, carpets) to stimulate muscle activity and development.
- Shoe and sock size should be adjusted accordingly as their feet grow.
- Any complaint should be taken seriously.
It is essential to consult your podiatrist if:
- Shoe wear is uneven.
- Lumps or bumps are evident on the feet.
- Pain in the feet and leg exists.
- Tripping or falling occurs commonly.
- Skin or toenail problems are present.