Pediatric Foot Services
Common Issues with Children’s Feet
We at Treasure Coast Podiatry Centre have specialized pediatric foot services to treat many of the common issues with children’s feet. Some common things we treat are:
Athlete’s foot is very common in children and is a skin infection caused by fungus. A fungal infection may occur on any part of the body; on the foot it is called athlete’s foot, or tinea pedis. Fungus commonly attacks the feet because it thrives in a dark, moist, warm environment such as a shoe.
Fungal infections are more common in warm weather when feet tend to sweat more. Fungus thrives in damp areas such as swimming pools, showers, and locker rooms. Athletes commonly have sweaty feet and use the facilities where fungus is commonly found, thus the term “athlete’s foot.”
Athlete’s foot usually produces itchy, dry, scaling skin. It is commonly seen on the soles of the feet and in between the toes. In advanced cases, inflammation, cracks, and blisters may form; an infection caused by bacteria can also result. The fungus can spread to other areas of the body, including toenails.
Avoiding walking barefoot combined with good foot hygiene can help reduce the spread of the fungus. Feet should be washed every day with soap and water and thoroughly dried, including between the toes. Feet should be kept as dry as possible. If your feet sweat a lot you may need to change your socks during the day. Anti-fungal powders, sprays, and/or creams are often utilized to treat athlete’s foot. Your foot and ankle surgeon will recommend the best treatment for you.
Pediatric Flatfoot is the partial or total collapse of the arch. Flatfoot can be apparent at birth or it may not show up until years later. Most children with flatfoot have no symptoms, but some have one or more of the following symptoms:
Pain, tenderness, or cramping in the foot, leg, and knee
Outward tilting of the heel
Awkwardness or changes in walking
Difficulty with shoes
Reduced energy when participating in physical activities
Voluntary withdrawal from physical activities
If a child has no symptoms, treatment is often not required. Instead, the condition will be observed and re-evaluated periodically by the foot and ankle surgeon. Custom orthotic devices may be considered for some cases of asymptomatic flatfoot.
If an ingrown nail causes a break in the skin, bacteria may enter and cause an infection in the area, which is often marked by drainage and a foul odor. However, even if the toe isn’t painful, red, swollen, or warm, a nail that curves downward into the skin can progress to an infection
After examining the toe, the foot and ankle surgeon will select the treatment best suited for your child. If an infection is present, an oral antibiotic may be prescribed.
Sometimes a minor surgical procedure, often performed in the office, will ease the pain and remove the offending nail. After applying a local anesthetic, the doctor removes part of the nail’s side border. Some nails may become ingrown again, requiring removal of the nail root.
Following the nail procedure, a light bandage will be applied. Most people experience very little pain after surgery and may resume normal activity the next day. If your surgeon has prescribed an oral antibiotic, be sure to take all the medication, even if your symptoms have improved.
Although plantar warts may eventually clear up on their own, most patients desire faster relief. The goal of treatment is to completely remove the wart. The foot and ankle surgeon may use topical or oral treatments, laser therapy, cryotherapy (freezing), acid treatments, or surgery to remove the wart.
Although there are many folk remedies for warts, patients should be aware that these remain unproven and may be dangerous. Patients should never try to remove warts themselves. This can do more harm than good.
There are several ways to treat Sever’s Disease depending on the severity. Often, over the counter pain medication such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen is all that is needed. Sometimes orthotics are used such as gel cups for the heels or supportive inserts for shoes. Physical therapy can also be undertaken to stretch and strengthen parts of the foot. In severe cases, a short cast can be put on for a week or two if symptoms don’t go away with other treatments.