Common Foot Problems in Children
There are many reasons why children manifest foot problems. It could be due to a problem faced by the fetus when it was in the uterus. It could occur due to a congenital anomaly. Or, it could be hereditary. Children could be born with an anomaly or it could manifest as soon as they start toddling.
Some Common Foot Problems in Children
Club Foot – A baby born with this condition will have feet that appear to have been rotated internally at the ankle. The feet could look misshapen. If this is detected at birth, it can be corrected immediately. Sometimes, the problem may not become apparent till the baby starts walking. In that case, special braces and physical therapy would be needed.
Bow Legs – This is the term used when the legs curve outward while walking. When children start toddling, their legs are usually bowed for a while and then they will straighten out. If it doesn’t straighten out when they are older and if it causes pain, treatment may be necessary.
Knock Knees – This is a knee misalignment where the child’s knees scrape against one another as he/she walks. The feet and ankles stay apart. Over time, if it isn’t corrected, it could lead to pain and posture problems.
In-toeing – This is also called pigeon toes. Toddlers could start walking unsteadily, in the beginning, with their toes turned inwards. This usually evens out as the legs lengthen and get stronger. If it doesn’t, it would need to be corrected.
Out-toeing – When the opposite of pigeon toes occurs, the toes are turned outwards when the child starts walking. It should self-correct by the time the child is around six. If it doesn’t, the child will balance the body differently causing posture problems.
– Flat feet occurs when the arches of the feet don’t develop properly. Usually toddlers don’t have arches and their feet look flat footed when they start walking. But over time, the arch develops and the flat feet disappears. If it doesn’t, treatment should be sought.
Most childhood foot problems will self-correct as the child grows. If it doesn’t, it is better to get it checked by a podiatrist. If detected in time, orthotics and physical therapy can be used to rectify the problem and surgery can be avoided.