Foot and ankle problems in children often go unnoticed. Signs and symptoms can be subtle, but sometimes they can’t explain what’s wrong. It’s important to protect growing feet and have problems checked out early.
The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons offer five warning signs parents should watch for in their kids:
- KEEPING UP WITH THEIR PEERS. If your child lags behind in sports or backyard play, it may be due to tired legs or feet. Fatigue is common when children have flat feet.
- WITHDRAWN FROM FAVORITE ACTIVITIES. If they are reluctant to participate, it may be due to heel pain – a problem often seen in children between the ages of 8 and 14. Repetitive stress from sports may cause muscle strain and inflammation of the growth plate, a weak area at the back of a child’s heel.
- HIDING THEIR FEET. Children may feel pain or notice a change in the appearance of their feet or nails but don’t tell their parents because they fear a trip to the doctor’s office. Foot and ankle surgeons encourage parents to make a habit of inspecting their child’s feet starting at a young age. Look for any changes such as calluses, growth, skin discoloration or redness, and swelling around the toenails.
- YOUR CHILD OFTEN TRIPS AND FALLS. Repeated clumsiness may be a sign of in-toeing, balance problems, or a neuromuscular condition.
- COMPLAINING OF PAIN. It is never normal for a child to have foot pain. Injuries may seem minor, but if pain or swelling last more than a few days, have your child’s foot examined.
For more information about pediatric foot and ankle conditions, contact Shoal Creek Foot & Ankle Center by phone at (417) 622-0648 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.