Children, like adults, sometimes have orthopedic conditions that need to be treated by professionals. Some children are born with, and others they develop in their early growth periods. It’s important to remember that many orthopedic conditions are fairly common, and most conditions can be easily treated if promptly diagnosed. If you notice any abnormality in your child’s foot or ankle, or in the way that they walk, consult your Smithtown podiatrist immediately. There are several conditions that a child may have, and it’s important to begin treatment right away.
One of the conditions that require more treatment than others is clubfoot. Clubfoot describes any unusual positions of the child’s foot. It can be detected while in the womb through an ultrasound and is easily visible once the baby is born. The affected foot is usually smaller than normal and may point down or turn in towards the other foot. It’s important to begin treatment right away to ensure that the foot is strong when the child begins to walk. The orthopedist will move the foot to the most normal position, then immobilize it for 1-2 weeks. This is repeated for 2-4 months,slowly moving the foot closer to a normal resting position.
Like clubfoot, pigeon toes, or intoeing is the condition that causes the child’s toes to turn in while walking or running. Symptoms are seen at birth or shortly after. The child’s feet will be turned inward even at rest, but not as dramatically as clubfoot. It may not be obvious until the child begins to walk, becoming noticeable at age 3 and obvious by age 5 or 6. In most cases, children outgrow the problem. In serious cases, casts will be placed on their feet to help correct alignment.
Ingrown toenails are also fairly common in children. An ingrown toenail occurs when the nail grows into the skin instead of over it. The nail going into the skin will cause pain, especially when wearing tight fitting shoes. If it goes untreated, an ingrown toenail can become infected causing the toe to become swollen and red, sometimes draining pus. A minor surgery is all that’s required for treatment. The doctor will numb the child’s toe, then make an incision at the edge of the ingrown nail and remove it.
If you live in the Smithtown area and believe your child may have an orthopedic condition, please contact us for any questions or to schedule an appointment. We offer custom orthotics and other treatment options to get your child back on the right foot.