Many people are surprised that I see a large number of youngsters in my podiatry practice. In fact, children have a fair amount of foot problems. Ingrown toenails and plantar warts are the most common reason that kids find their way into the office. The treatment for these conditions is generally straightforward.
I also see many children who suffer from foot pain or problems. Kids having foot pain? Absolutely! The truth is many more children suffer needlessly from pain in their feet but are told by other doctors that they'll grow out of it or assumed by their parents to be growing pains. The pain can return again and again and eventually become constant. You'll find these children not wanting to participate in sports or physical education in school. They'll turn to their PlayStations and TV's and stay more sedentary. As they gain weight, which is a tremendous problem in children, they will suffer even more foot pain. No kid has to suffer this way.
Put simply: Kids will NOT grow out of foot pain. The same goes for pain in their ankles and pain in the knee. It should not be there and you should bring your child to a podiatrist for evaluation if this is the case.
I clearly remember a mother who brought her twelve year old daughter to the office on the recommendation of her astute pediatrician who notices a potential issue with her foot and ankle mechanics. I asked her daughter if she had any pain in her foot. She responded that she had no such pain. I then asked about ankle, knee, hip, or back pain. Her mother chimed in: Well that's just her normal knee pain. I looked at her and explained that there is no such thing as “normal” pain in a 12 year old.
Most foot pain experienced by children is caused by foot function. The foot does not function as properly as it should, causing excessive pressure to occur on some areas of the foot. This is common in the arch, inside of the foot and ankle, and the heel. Treatment is a combination of anti-inflammatory medication to treat the acute problem and the use of a custom orthotic to correct the foot function that has preceded the issue from going away on its own in the first place. It is unusual to consider surgery in a kid and is a last resort, so that concern should not be a reason to come to the clinic.
You owe it to your child to address the cause of his foot or ankle pain so he can return to being a kid. No child should have foot pain. If she does, contact your local podiatrist to schedule an appointment.