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What to Watch for When Kids Grow Like Weeds

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growing kids

With our California weather, it seems like we’re constantly weeding. In fact, sometimes the weeds grow so fast, it’s hard to keep up -- kind of like kids! Children tend to grow as fast as those dandelions in your yard, but just as it’s important to stay on top of your lawn care, it’s essential to keep up with your child’s foot care, too! Regular checkups certainly help, but there are growing kids’ foot conditions that can sprout up between visits. Here’s what to watch for when it comes to your kids’ feet:

Sever’s disease. Don’t worry, it’s not as bad as it sounds! This condition occurs when a child’s heel bone grows faster than the Achilles tendon attached to it. The taut tendon then pulls on the heel bone and causes heel pain. Keep an eye out for tenderness on the sides of the heel, redness, swelling, stiffness, an acquired limp, and lack of desire to participate in normal activities. If you spot these signs, have your child take a break from high impact activity and come see us for custom orthotics that will provide cushion and take pressure away from the heel. Children will grow out of this condition, once growth spurts come to an end.

Tarsal coalition. This is a condition in which tarsal bones in the foot grow together and become abnormally attached. While the disorder is often present at birth, signs of tarsal coalition typically don’t become apparent until adolescence. Symptoms include stiffness and pain in the middle or back of the foot that interferes with physical activity and makes even walking difficult. If left untreated, it can lead to rigid flat foot, chronic ankle sprains, and arthritis. Rest, especially from high-impact sports, and orthotics can provide relief. A temporary cast or boot can help to avoid pressure from weight bearing. In severe cases, surgical intervention may be necessary.

Tight shoes that can lead to ingrown nails, bunions, and other problems. It’s important to replace kids’ shoes frequently since they tend to outgrow them faster than you can blink an eye! Always make sure there’s a thumbs width between the front of the shoe and your child’s longest toe, and that the toe box offers plenty of wiggle room so toes don’t get squished.

If your child is growing like a weed, we can help you keep up! Contact our Carmichael, CA office if you have any questions or would like to make an appointment. You can reach us at (916) 961-3434. 

Dr. Brian McDowell
Dr. Brian McDowell, board-certified podiatrist, provides cutting-edge foot and ankle care in Carmichael, CA.
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