Foot and Ankle Associates LLP, treats children of all ages on a daily basis. Some of the more common conditions that we treat include: heel pain, ingrown toenails, sports injuries and warts. However any concern or complaint dealing with the foot or the ankle is within our realm of practice. The friendly staff and environment at the office ensure the child's comfort and confidence. Below are listed some of the more frequent conditions that we see and treat in our office.
Plantar warts: These are usually circular lesions on the bottom of the feet and are caused by the same virus that causes warts on other areas of the foot or body. Usually a gentle topical treatment is used and is successful most of the time. A common misconception by the parents or the child is that this is a callus or some sort of foreign body that the child has stepped on, as a wart may have small black dots in the center that can appear as a splinter or foreign body.
Ingrown nails: An ingrown toenail can be along the sides of any toenail but usually the big toes are involved. These are usually caused by a genetic predisposition to ingrown toenails with aggravating factors being tight shoes, or athletic shoes which are snug fitting such as cleats. These can become painful and red around the nail from the pressure, however they do also progress to become infected and this should be treated without delay.
Trauma, Sports Injuries: With the increasing participation of children in organized sports, as well as their daily activities such as skateboarding, bike riding, rollerblading, etc; sports and traumatic injuries occur quite frequently.
We are fully equipped in our office to x-ray and evaluate injuries to the foot and ankle. Children and adolescents are a specific concern with trauma due to their open growth plates in their bones and should be evaluated immediately after any significant trauma or injury. Often early intervention and treatment can prevent long-term discomfort and loss of activity. Treatment of trauma also includes the ability to suture any lacerations which may occur due to stepping on glass or other objects. This can be done in the office without the need for a lengthy emergency room visit.
Growing pains, flat feet: Most growing children do not experience pain in their legs or feet simply from the growth process. Often it is the case that there is a biomechanical reason for the leg pain and aching. Usually it is associated with a more than normal amount of flattening of the feet when walking and standing known as pronation. However, an increase in arch height or walking "pigeon toed" or with the feet pointing inward can also cause foot and leg pain. Any concern about abnormal gait or foot deformity should be screened by a podiatrist who is trained in normal versus abnormal gait and foot position in the child. Often it is the case that the parents were told that the child would outgrow the intoeing or the flat feet, and although in mild cases this is possible, usually early intervention is best to prevent symptoms and injury later. If diagnosis of a foot deformity or gait abnormality is made, the usual treatment includes prescription biomechanical orthotics. The orthotics control the child's foot and slow the progression on foot deformity.
Heel pain: Children between the ages of 8 and 13 are specifically at risk when they are active in sports, dance, karate or other high impact activities. These children experience heel pain specifically because there is an open growth plate in the heel. Increased activity especially combined with abnormal foot type such as a flat foot or a high arched foot can cause a progressive amount of pain and disability when walking and running. A thorough evaluation of the underlying causes as well as x-ray of the growth plate should be undertaken. This is known as Sever's disease, or calcaneal apophysitis. This can easily be addressed in an office setting.
Orthotics: Orthotics are used to treat a variety of conditions. Flat feet, high arched feet, leg and foot pain, tendonitis and athletic injuries are often caused by mechanical abnormalities which can easily be corrected with a custom-made orthotic. Orthotics are not simple arch supports, but custom-made inserts for the shoes which are made from a cast of the child's feet. These are extremely helpful and successful in treating most biomechanical injuries and complaints. Any concern that involves the foot or the ankle can be treated easily and often painlessly in our office. Children should be seen as early as possible with foot and leg concerns as early intervention can often avoid later complications.