In the past, foot and ankle complications were most commonly thought to result from sports injuries. However, the reality is that feet are used every day to help us do even the most mundane tasks! Everyone who stands, sits, walks, runs, and stretches are prone to injury or a painful foot condition. For your children, it is particularly important to catch signs of foot and ankle injuries or abnormalities quickly to promote healthy growth and eliminate the threat of repercussions in adulthood.
When your child complains about foot or ankle pain, you may be wondering if, and when, it is necessary to take them for a check-up. The signs and symptoms we have listed below are sure-tell signs that it’s time to visit a podiatrist. Your pediatrician will be a professional and unbiased resource for further evaluation and reference to determine if your child needs to visit a pediatric podiatrist.
In general, we recommend visiting the podiatrist once per year for an annual foot exam, whether or not your children are experiencing foot or ankle pain. Regular check-ups can catch conditions in their early stages and help families continue to live an active lifestyle.
How foot injuries can impact your children
Before the age of eight, there is a greater chance of reversing foot, ankle, and heel abnormalities if they are present. Flat feet, intoed/out-toed gait, and genu valgum (knock-knees) treatments have more promising results when performed at a younger age (while your child is still developing).
If a foot or ankle complication is left unchecked, it could progressively worsen and impact other parts of the body, including the hips and back. Even if your child is not showing symptoms, maintaining foot health can prevent plantar fasciitis, bone spurs, ingrown toenails, and more. If you question your child’s foot and ankle health, the best thing to do is speak with a pediatric podiatrist during a healthy foot check-up.
Pediatric foot and ankle symptoms that raise a concern
You may still be wondering when to visit a pediatric foot and ankle specialist. If your child is expressing pain or discomfort around the foot and ankle pain, or if your child is too young to communicate their problem, here are some symptoms to look out for:
- Heel pain that is frequent and intensifies
- Reddening or swelling of the foot and ankle
- Feet that turn inward or outward
- Infections around the toenails
- Warts or abnormal growths
If you notice any of these symptoms, visit a pediatric podiatrist at your earliest convenience.
Common foot ailments
Some foot issues are congenital, while others can be avoided. The following are considered common foot conditions and should be evaluated by a pediatric foot and ankle specialist.
- Flat feet and irregular gait
- Heel pain
- Ingrown toenails
- Ankle sprains
- Fractures in the ankle or foot
- Athlete’s foot
- Plantar Fasciitis
Many of these common foot ailments have several treatments to choose from. Whether the solution is to reduce pain, provide support, or medication, you and your pediatric podiatrist can work together to find the best treatment plan for your family.
Treatment options for ankle arthritis vary
Arthritis is a chronic condition; thus, the disorder is managed throughout your life. Depending on the severity, ankle pain treatment options range from lifestyle changes to surgery. Less invasive approaches, such as adjusting lifestyle habits, including weight, diet, and exercise, are typically recommended first. If recommended by a doctor, modifying your diet can reduce inflammation or decrease weight to minimize the pressure on your joints. A healthy diet, along with low impact exercise, can improve joint mobility. Please speak with your podiatrist and physical therapist to learn practices to strengthen the muscles around your joints, while not overworking them.
When lifestyle changes aren’t enough, medication can be used to reduce symptoms. Depending on your medical history, pain, and inflammation levels, your doctor may recommend over-the-counter drugs, steroid injections, or TNF-blockers.
If nonsurgical treatments have proven ineffective, surgery is an option. Minimally invasive repair may be viable for some patients, while others may require a joint replacement. As with any surgical procedure, it’s best to talk to your doctor for personalized treatment.
Speaking with a podiatrist about your ankle health
Arthritis affecting the ankles can change how you go about your day to day routines. However, it doesn’t have to get in the way of your lifestyle goals. Speak with the podiatrists at Arizona Foot Doctors to learn more about how we can manage and treat your arthritis with methods best suited to you and your family. With the right diagnosis and treatment, you can get back to life as usual.
Locate a pediatric foot doctor near you
To locate a pediatric foot and ankle specialist hat is right for you, speak with your child’s pediatrician or start an online search for the best pediatric podiatrist in your area. Your pediatrician can examine your child’s foot and ankle and provide recommendations on who to see and pain relief methods.
Your child’s pediatrician will often give you a list of pediatric podiatrists that you can research at home. Your health insurance company can also make you aware of pediatric podiatrists in your network. With any search, we recommend that you evaluate the podiatrist’s website and give them a call to learn about their practice, availability, and location. Before making your final decision, be aware there are many branches of podiatry. You may want to get a final referral from your pediatrician to be sure that your pediatric podiatrist of choice can treat your child’s symptoms.
At Arizona Foot Doctors, we have reputable and dedicated pediatric podiatrists available to help keep your little ones on their feet. We’re located in Scottsdale, Arizona, near Shea and 92nd street, and are proud to offer conservative and gentle treatment options. We will work with your family to manage a treatment plan fitted to your little one’s lifestyle and needs. To schedule your healthy foot check-up, request an appointment. We look forward to meeting you and your family!