You have a family doctor and a family dentist—why don’t you have a family podiatrist? Many parents may not be aware that foot health can impact your kids’ overall health and happiness. Seeing a pediatric podiatrist should not be on an emergency-basis only! Make an annual appointment to ensure your kiddos aren’t suffering from common children’s foot problems or starting to take on a condition that can affect their posture and movement as they grow. Knowing when foot pain is a problem, understanding how to treat it, and scheduling regular visits to the podiatrist will keep the entire family on their feet.
- Schedule your child’s first podiatry appointment between the ages of 6-8 to avoid common foot problems
- Schedule annual healthy foot check-up appointments for the whole family
- Talk with your doctor about any irregularities with your children’s feet (irritation, discolorization, bumps or skin irregularities, and or discomfort)
- Don’t ignore your health! If you notice any discomfort or irregularities, make an appointment with a trusted podiatrist
- Follow preventive measures to avoid life-altering foot conditions and to prevent foot pain
Common foot conditions in adults
Many people suffer from common foot problems, but not everyone seeks help before symptoms become unbearable. While meeting with a podiatrist is essential to diagnosing and treating your condition, it’s also important to learn about common foot conditions that adults face. By learning about common issues and what’s normal vs. what’s not, you can spot a foot problem in its development, alleviate pain at home, and seek treatment quickly. Explore the common foot problems we have listed below and get in contact with Scottsdale’s top podiatrist for evaluation and treatment.
- Arthritis in the foot and ankle
- Bone spurs
- Diabetes Mellitus
- Ingrown toenails
- Plantar Warts
- Toenail fungus
What are the most common foot conditions I should be aware of?
Perhaps the most common foot conditions among all adults are athlete’s foot and Plantar Fasciitis. Athlete’s foot begins in dark, moist, and warm environments; the fungal infection creates inflamed skin and a scaly rash that may itch, burn, or peel. Plantar Fasciitis is another common foot ailment in adults. An inflamed fascia ligament characterizes this condition.
Although both of these conditions are most common in athletes, the disorder stems from overuse, so it can occur in many. Adults are subject to a variety of other ailments as well, including ingrown toenails or toenail fungus, gout, arthritis, blisters, bunions, calluses, and more.
Common children’s foot problems
Children share many of the same foot conditions as adults, but because they may be more resilient or cannot effectively communicate their pain, children’s foot problems may go unnoticed or not be detected as early. Understanding what symptoms your child may be experiencing is crucial to their health and ability as they grow older. Explore the conditions we have listed below for an inside look into common foot problems in children, then contact a pediatric podiatrist for professional evaluation and diagnosis.
- Pediatric ingrown toenail: If a child’s shoes are too tight or if their nails are cut improperly, ingrown toenails may occur. This means the toenail grows into the skin surrounding it, causing swelling, redness, and pain.
- Flat feet/foot in children: Flexible flatfoot occurs in young children who display an arch when sitting down but appear to have flat feet when standing up. Children with flat feet usually do not have any symptoms, but some may feel pain or cramps when they walk. Most children will outgrow flexible flatfoot on their own.
- Heel pain: Pain in the heels is one of the most common children’s foot problems we see throughout the office, especially in kids 8-14 years old who are active in sports or dance. Heel pain is commonly linked to Sever’s disease, which causes pain and inflammation due to repetitive stress to the heel.
- Children’s Plantar Warts: Running around barefoot can cause various foot issues, including Plantar Warts. Plantar Warts are not only unpleasant because of how they look, but they can cause uncomfortable skin growths and changes in a child’s skin if left untreated.
How to prevent foot pain in adults and children
The easiest way to prevent foot pain is to listen to your body. If you notice heel pain when you’re walking, running, or working out, you could be causing too much strain or not properly stretching before performing weight-bearing exercises. Wearing properly fitting and supportive shoes are important as well. For day to day wear, opt for a walking shoe that flexes with your foot. If you need to wear dress shoes, try to reduce the time they are worn and consider a supportive console. If you can, keep a change of shoes in your car or a locker at work. For hiking in Arizona deserts and trails, wear supportive boots or padded running shoes to protect your feet from rough terrain.
Taking care of your body as a whole is important for foot health and prevention. Maintaining a healthy weight means less pressure on your feet. Scheduling and attending doctor’s appointments mean more attention to your body and mind’s health and wellness, making it possible to detect irregularities before they become painful conditions. If you suffer foot ailments and find it difficult to sustain your regular workout routine, low-impact exercises like swimming are an excellent alternative. Talk with your physical therapist, coach, and or trainer to adjust workouts that fit your body’s limits.
We get it—you and your family are always on your feet and on the go. Don’t change your routine to try to avoid foot problems; instead, follow our preventative tips to keep you and your family healthy and on the go.
How to determine if you need new shoes
Not sure when it’s time to replace your old shoes? Look at the outsole and midsoles first. If the bottom of the shoe looks excessively worn, if it sits at an angle when you place it on a flat surface, or it appears creased in the middle area, it’s time for a new pair of shoes. Children will often grow out of their shoes before they’re worn down completely, but they should still be checked for wear and size. Consider new shoes if you notice that you or your children’s knees, back, or hips are hurting. Other signs that shoes are too small include blisters and limited to no wiggle room in the toe. Keep in mind that shoes that are too big could also cause injury. Keep an eye out for unnatural movements or a loose fit.
When replacing your shoes, finding the right fit is essential. In addition to the length and width of the shoe, find one with a toe box that mimics you or your child’s natural foot shape. Avoid shoes with firm or too-tall of outsoles. To test out the new pair of shoes before purchasing, stand, walk, and jump to ensure they fit well. If you’re ever in doubt, reach out to your podiatrist for their opinion on the best shoe for your child. Wearing the proper shoe can prevent foot pain and injury.
Having trouble implementing preventative foot measures with your child?
First off, you’re not alone. Following preventative measures can be difficult — especially for children! Here are some things you can do as their guardian in heath:
- To help your family avoid common children’s foot problems, check to see if they need new shoes by regularly measuring the size of your child’s feet and testing the flexibility/support. When it comes to new shoes or shoes that are a couple of months old, watch how your child moves. If their walk doesn’t seem natural, or if the shoe is slipping at the heel, it’s worth looking at and buying another pair.
- If your child is outdoorsy or running barefoot in places outside of the beach, make sure they’re changing into clean socks daily. Washing their feet before bedtime can prevent Plantar Warts and fungal infections.
- Implementing a stretch routine before bedtime or scheduled activities (like soccer practice) will help prevent foot pain in the future. Create a routine with your child and stretch with them!
- For additional support, consider investing in insoles that can be placed inside of the shoe. Custom children’s foot orthotics are also most effective in maintaining or correcting gait as children develop. Additionally, custom insoles are effective at preventing foot and ankle conditions in their future.
The importance of family podiatrist check-ups
Annual visits to a family podiatrist are important for both adults and children. For children, visiting a pediatric podiatrist will help stop children’s foot problems before they become life-altering. For adults, visiting a podiatrist can help prevent future foot problems and get your life back to normal after treating an uncomfortable or disruptive condition. Arizona Foot Doctors, located in Scottsdale, Arizona, is always ready to help your family put its best foot forward. Schedule an appointment by calling us at 480-661-7572 or by using our convenient online scheduling option, or via the Zocdoc app. Our family podiatrists are here for you and your family’s foot and ankle needs.