What kinds of foot- and ankle-related issues do children face?

Children can experience many of the same medical issues as adults, as well as some issues that occur more commonly in a pediatric population. Some of the most common pediatric podiatry issues include:

  • flat feet
  • in-toeing (sometimes called “pigeon-toeing”)
  • warts
  • sprains and fractures of the foot or ankle
  • athlete’s foot infections

Sports injuries are also very common, arising from physical activities like soccer, baseball, tennis, hockey, dancing, skating and snow sports. Some children have congenital defects that cause problems with gait (the way the child walks) and interfere with their ability to participate in sports and other activities, in addition to making them feel more self-conscious.

Why is it important to see a podiatrist with experience in pediatric podiatry?

Because children’s feet and ankles are rapidly growing, pediatric foot care requires special skills, training, and experience to ensure this growth process is not hindered. Plus, the rapid growth and regeneration of tissue that occur in children also affects the way foot and ankle injuries heal, and those differences also must be taken into account when determining the best course of treatment.

How are pediatric foot and ankle injuries diagnosed?

Diagnosis begins with a history of the symptoms as well as a careful visual examination of the foot and ankle. Depending on the symptoms, passive and active movements may also be used to determine the source of pain or stiffness. Diagnostic ultrasound and x-ray may be performed using on-site state-of-the-art equipment to evaluate both bone and soft tissue injuries.

How are children’s foot injuries or conditions treated?

Many injuries and conditions like flat feet can be treated conservatively using custom orthotics or, in some cases, bracing. Very rarely, surgery may be needed to correct severe defects or injuries like complex fractures.