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heel pain in children

Children's Podiatry Darwin

When do I need to bring my child to see a Podiatrist?

This is the most common question we get asked and there is no correct or wrong answers.

Children's feet are very different to that of adults. The bones are still soft and muscles are still developing, which means they are more easily influenced by intrinsic and extrinsic factors.  

There is no age requirements to see a podiatrist but some crucial stages when you should consult with a podiatrist about your child's feet are:

 

  • Visual signs of developmental delays and foot deformities

  • Knock knees, bow legs, in-toeing, toe walking

  • Unable to catch up with peers

  • Experiencing pain

  • Tripping

  • Family history of relevant conditions

paediatric podiatrist

Common lower limb concerns seen in children

Sever's Disease

Also known as calcaneal apophysitis, sever's disease is a form of heel pain typically seen in active children aged between 8 and 14 years old. It is one of the most common presenting concerns seen by health professionals.

 

The cause is likely due to overuse and repetitive stress to the heel resulting in pain during or after activities. Multiple factors can contribute to the condition including types of physical activity, height-weight, footwear and foot type. 

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Osgood Schlatter

A painful knee condition that usually affects adolescents, osgood schlatter syndrome causes pain below the knee cap (patella) at the level of the tibial tuberosity. Symptoms frequently occur during a period of growth spurt where during bone growth, the tendon attaching the quadriceps muscles to the shin bone becomes tight and causes inflammation in the tibial tuberosity.

 

Due to repeated use of the quadriceps muscle, children who participate in athletics or high impact sports is reported to have a higher incidence of such knee pain. Previous injury to the knee region, age and activity are all contributing factors. 

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Joint Hypermobility

Sometimes called ligamentous laxity, a hypermobile joint is when the joint moves beyond what is considered the normal range of motion. Hypermobility tends to run in families and it is thought that the genes responsible for the production of collagen is a considering factor. Widespread connective tissue disorder associated with hypermobility such as Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome may occur but it is rare. 

Symptoms may include joint and muscle aches and pain, prone to sprain injuries and dislocation of the joints. Screening and education for the child and parents are usually the first steps in a multifactorial treatment plan. Podiatrists play an important role in a multidisciplinary approach when managing hypermobility syndrome. 

hypermobile joints

In-toeing

In toe gait in children is when the foot or feet point inwards when they walk, and in most cases are corrected on their own as they grow.

Three common causes of in-toeing are femoral anteversion at the thigh level, tibial torsion at the lower leg level, and metatarsus adductus at the foot level. 

There is usually no painful symptoms associated with an in-toe gait, however, tripping over the other foot is commonly reported. Seek professional assessment if the condition does not improve and worsens over time. 

in toeing

Type 1 Diabetes

This is the most common form of diabetes affecting children and teenagers. The condition occurs when the body stops producing insulin. Without insulin, glucose levels will build up in the blood.

Your child may show symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes such as sudden weight loss, extreme thirst, constant hunger and fatigue.

Diabetes can cause short term or long term complications including the feet and can occur at all ages. Diabetes foot assessments should be conducted by a podiatrist regularly. Early detection of foot pathology by examination and awareness by the person with diabetes can prevent major foot complications (McCabe et al, 1998).

diabetes foot care

If you are concerned about your child's growth and development, visit us at Northern Podiatrist Clinic where our Darwin Podiatrists routinely perform comprehensive paediatric examinations to provide diagnoses, advice and treatment.

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