Congenital means that the individual was born with them while acquired means the disorders came about as a result of various factors which could include an accident or other underlying causes. As with most health-related issues, early detection is very important in treating foot disorders.
1. Hypermobility Foot: Hypermobility is the term used to describe the ability to move joints beyond the normal range of movement. According to the NHS, it is extremely common in children, having been reported in 25 to 50% of those younger than 10 years of age. Most children’s joints are able to bend when they are younger but get less “bendy” as they continue to age. However, it can be associated with recurrent pains at the end of the day or at night in the knees, feet and/or ankles and it might affect the fingers and hands. This condition often improves with age, however, if you notice that your child’s joints might be hypermobile or flexible, it is important to seek professional help and advice from a podiatrist.
2. Bowlegs/Knock knees: Babies who are just learning to walk commonly have a gap between their knees and ankles, but this gap typically straightens out after about a year. If your child’s leg worsens or doesn’t correct itself, it is known as bowlegs and could be an indication of rickets, especially if it occurs in only one leg. Knock knees on the other hand is a condition where there is a gap between the ankles. With these two conditions, if your child is experiencing pain while walking, it could be an indication of a deeper, underlying problem and you should see a specialist for medical advice.
3. Toe walking: Most children start to walk on their toes but later grow out of it. However, if your child doesn’t seem to stop toe walking, it is an indication of a muscle disorder and you should see a specialist for a proper diagnosis.
4. Ingrown toenail: Children and teenagers commonly suffer from ingrown toenails as a result of wearing tight shoes which stunt the growth of the nail or if a toenail was improperly trimmed. To prevent this, make sure your child’s shoe is the appropriate size with enough room at the toe box and good heel support, especially when they are younger and can’t really communicate how tight or uncomfortable a shoe is. An ingrown toenail can lead to an infection and so to treat them you will have to take your child to see a podiatrist for proper treatment and advice.
5. Club foot (also known as talipes): Is a congenital foot disorder in which the foot and ankle are twisted out of shape or position. Early intervention usually helps correct it, but in some cases, surgery might also be needed. It is important to find a solution as soon as possible otherwise it could affect the child’s movement in future.
Some foot disorders might not be able to be cured, but early detection and treatment can significantly improve the general way of life of the patient. As a parent, it is your duty to keep an eye out for these common foot disorders that occur in children and proactively seek a solution from the podiatrist while their bodies are still growing and receptive enough to the treatment.
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