Just as adults can develop foot deformities or injuries that require care, pediatric foot care is necessary for many children. There is a wide range of conditions that can affect the bones, muscles, and tendons of a child’s foot, and proper treatment will ensure increased comfort and mobility as the child grows older. Prompt treatment also encourages proper growth of the foot, so positive development can continue.
Keep reading to learn more about some of the pediatric foot conditions and deformities our doctors commonly treat at our office in Huntington, NY, as well as their symptoms and causes.
Pediatric foot care is required when a child has a congenital or acquired deformity and/or injury to the foot. In many cases, a foot deformity is present at birth, and treatment early in life can ensure proper growth and development of the foot over time. Some common foot deformities seen in children include:
This condition causes the foot to have an excessively high arch. Due to the severity of the arch, the heel is often turned inwards. Cavus foot can cause pain and the development of calluses, which can worsen over time if there is no intervention.
Clubfoot is a deformity that is present at birth, and can often be seen during an ultrasound before the child is born. It causes the feet to turn inward, with the bottom of the foot facing sideways or upward. The condition is not painful, but if it is not treated, it will persist and limit mobility as the child gets older.
This condition, also known as metatarsus varus, is a common childhood foot deformity that causes the front half of the foot to turn inward. In some cases, the deformity is “flexible”, meaning that it can be straightened by hand, and in other cases, it is “nonflexible.” This condition does not often need treatment, but the diagnosis is important because the child may be at a greater risk for developmental dysplasia of the hip.
A variety of other deformities can affect a child’s feet and toes, and certain deformities are considered combination disorders and can affect areas beyond the feet.
Pediatric foot conditions and deformities can have a number of causes, depending on the type of deformity that is present. Congenital deformities have a genetic cause and are passed down from a relative to the child. Many congenital foot conditions are present when the child is born, but others may take longer to appear. Certain pediatric foot conditions, like Cavus foot, can be caused by a neurologic disorder or other medical condition.
Since pediatric foot conditions and deformities are usually visible, a diagnosis can be made through a simple physical examination of the foot, often when the child is very young. The doctor may examine the foot for other issues, such as hammertoes or claw toes, and discuss the child’s family history of foot issues and conditions. Diagnostic tests, such as X-rays, are usually not needed to determine if a pediatric foot deformity is present, but they may be used to further assess the deformity and determine its severity.
Certain pediatric foot conditions have their own criteria for diagnosis. For example, metatarsus adductus (also known as metatarsus) is diagnosed through a technique called passive manipulation. If the heel and forefoot can be aligned with each other when pressure is placed on the forefoot, a diagnosis of flexible metatarsus adductus is made. On the other hand, if it is difficult to align the forefoot with the heel, the case of metatarsus adductus is considered to be non-flexible.
Treatment of the pediatric foot differs from the adult foot significantly. Considering that the bones are not fully developed until about the age of 18 years old, certain podiatric complications are resolved and managed differently. Care will be individualized based on the patient’s chief complaints, age, and physical exam in the office.
Pediatric foot conditions and deformities should be treated in the early stages, so that the child’s feet can develop properly throughout their life. At Comprehensive Foot Specialists, our experienced and compassionate podiatrists are skilled in diagnosing and treating a variety of pediatric foot conditions, including clubfoot, metatarsus adductus, and more. To learn more about the services we provide for both children and adults at our office in Huntington, NY, please contact us today.
At Comprehensive Foot Specialists, our expert physicians are dedicated to treating a wide variety of foot and ankle conditions so you can live comfortably, 24/7. Contact us today to learn more!Book an Appointment