Watching kids grow up is fun. From that first word or tooth to the first date or job, every accomplishment is something to savor and enjoy. However, every child also has to get through various pitfalls along the way. Thankfully, many of them are not serious—although they may add some drama to life! Serious issues only comprise a small percentage of children’s foot problems, but there are a few things to watch out for as your son or daughter grows.
Flatfeet from Baby to Adulthood
Most infants have flat feet when they are born. The arch begins to form as they start walking and is usually formed by age 5 or 6, unless they have an arch structure that will remain flat throughout their lives, which is fairly common. Flat feet aren’t usually a problem unless they are painful. Flatfooted children can run and play and participate in sports like other kids. However, if they develop pain you should come in to the Palmer Foot Clinic in Winnipeg, and let us have a look. If the condition seems serious, we may recommend an orthotic to add a little support to their foundation.
Tip-Toe through the Tulips, but Not through Life
Many babies walk on their toes when they first start walking. This usually takes care of itself and often disappears by the time they turn 2 years old. Even older children may occasionally revert to toe-walking on and off, but if they continually do so, or do it only on one leg, we should check them out for muscle or nerve problems. In rare cases, persistent toe-walking can be a sign of another condition like cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy.
In-toeing is also very common in babies; they begin to grow out of it as they walk. This condition rarely requires treatment of any kind, just time to let your child’s feet develop and their leg muscles become stronger.
The Ins and Outs of Bowlegs and Knock-Knees
Bowlegs (when legs curve outward below the knee) are also common in babies, and again are not usually a problem as your son or daughter will normally outgrow them. If they do not correct themselves by age two, or if only one leg is affected, you will want to have us evaluate them. More serious conditions like rickets and Blount’s disease can also cause the legs to bow out. The first is usually treated with vitamin D and calcium supplements, although some inherited forms may need more serious intervention. The second affects the growth of the tibia and will probably require bracing or surgery to correct it.
Knock-knees (when the legs bend inward at the knee joint) can be quite common in 3 to 6-year-olds as their body alignment changes. Only rarely will this condition need treatment, as children usually outgrow it as their bones and muscles mature.
Podiatrist Iain Palmer loves taking care of children’s foot problems and helping them to live a normal, active life. If you have any concerns about your child’s feet, contact the Palmer Foot Clinic, for an appointment. Call (204) 697-0649.