Children and teenagers can experience the same foot and ankle problems as adults. However, children require special attention and treatment due to their rapid physical development and active lifestyle. For most children, foot and ankle conditions occur more frequently and present symptoms differently than in adults.
Children may also have genetic foot and ankle conditions that cause them pain or prevent them from walking properly. Abnormalities in the shape of the foot and formation of the bones can often be treated and corrected with proper foot care. For these many reasons, it is essential to see a board-certified pediatric foot care specialist to identify the underlying issues and ensure that your little one can enjoy healthy feet and ankles for their lifetime.
The podiatrists at Shady Grove Podiatry specialize in diagnosing and treating pediatric foot and ankle conditions and injuries. Serving the Gaithersburg and Rockville, Maryland areas, our podiatrists offer outstanding care for our littlest patients and their parents to ensure they are comfortable and informed throughout the entire treatment process.
It is important that children are given the special attention they need in order to thoroughly manage their foot and ankle conditions. Some conditions we treat in our youngest patients include:
- Athlete’s foot
- Bone and joint abnormalities
- Foot calluses
- Flat feet
- Heel pain
- Ingrown toenails
- Plantar warts
- Sports injuries
Giving extra care to our younger patients is important and our specialty. When a child’s bones, muscles, and/or ligaments are injured, they require different treatment than from what an adult would receive. At Shady Grove Podiatry, we are dedicated to your child receiving the best in his or her foot/ankle treatment.
When to See a Pediatric Foot and Ankle Specialist
Knowing when to see a pediatric foot and ankle physician is important to the longevity of your child’s lower extremity health. Skilled podiatrists who specialize in pediatric foot and ankle care can carefully evaluate, diagnose and treat acute injuries as well as congenital abnormalities.
There are several reasons why you may want to have your child’s feet and ankles examined by a podiatrist. If your child is young and/or cannot communicate accurately, it’s important to know the signs to look for. If your child’s feet don’t look right or they are walking differently than usual, you may want to get their feet examined. A podiatrist can identify whether or not there is a growth problem or injury.
To support healthy feet and ankles, it’s essential to monitor your child’s foot growth and development, select proper shoe size and pay special attention if your child complains of any foot, ankle or heel pain. Early intervention is crucial to keeping the underlying condition from worsening.
Other signs to look for include:
- Abnormal gait — toe-walking, in-toeing, out-toeing
- Avoiding bearing weight on one leg
- Complaining of foot pain
- Flat feet
- Frequent falling/inability to keep up with peers
- Redness around the foot ankle or toenails
- Sports-related injury
- Unusual growths
- Withdrawing from activities
Feet are the foundation of the body, and when children have deficiencies in their lower extremities, it can cause other issues in the body’s function. Whether your child’s condition has been present since birth or is an acute injury, such as a sports-related injury, we can help determine the right course of action to get them back on track.
At Shady Grove Podiatry, we see children of all ages, from infants to teenagers. Depending on their needs, our podiatrists will examine the areas of concern and evaluate the child’s gait and stance, when possible. The child’s symptoms and history will also be reviewed, and testing such as x-ray imaging may be ordered to create a custom treatment plan.
Treatment and Prevention
If you’re concerned about your child’s foot development or worried about potential injuries due to sports, our experienced pediatric podiatrists can help you. Treatment for foot and ankle ailments in children can range from rest to surgery. At Shady Grove Podiatry, we look for the least invasive treatment to make it easier for you and the child. However, in the instance that surgery is needed, we utilize minimally invasive techniques when possible to make recovery more manageable.
Oftentimes, when the condition is caught early, bracing and/or rehabilitative exercises can adequately treat the condition and strengthen the foot. Common modalities that we use to treat pediatric foot and ankle conditions:
- Custom insoles/orthotics
- Pediatric foot/ankle surgery
- Physical therapy
- Strengthening exercises
- Skin and nail care
Getting your child’s feet examined periodically can help ensure they have less lower extremity issues when they get older. Pediatric podiatrists can provide information on how to properly care for your child’s feet, what shoes are best, and exercises to support healthy feet and ankle function and prevent future injuries from occurring.
Contact Shady Grove Podiatry Today
For further information regarding our pediatric services or to request an appointment, contact us online or call Shady Grove Podiatry in Gaithersburg, Maryland at 301-948-2995.