Back To School: Five Warning Signs To Look Out For In Your Child’s Feet

Back To School: Five Warning Signs To Look Out For In Your Child’s Feet

Kids live an incredibly fast-paced life, and it feels like they’re constantly growing in leaps and bounds. With many natural differences between the bodies of kids and adults, including being susceptible to conditions like growing pains, it can be hard for parents to know what’s normal – and what could be a sign that something may be wrong or they may need their feet checked. With kids being back to school and on their feet all day every day, here are five signs you can be looking out for that may warrant a foot health check from a podiatrist.

1. Regular Tripping And Falling

Kids can be clumsy when it comes to their gait. Between developing muscles and not paying attention to where their feet are landing, it’s not uncommon for kids to fall or trip over. However, as the parent, you’ll know what feels normal for your child – and what feels like it has started happening significantly more.

Abnormal tripping and falls could be a result of their foot position (like in-toeing), knee position, muscle weakness or tightness, balance or coordination problems, or something else. Keep a lookout for poor coordination and odd walking patterns too.

2. Hesitance To Participate In Activities They Enjoy

If your child suddenly starts hesitating in participating in activities they enjoy, like playing sports with their friends or going for family walks, it could be worthwhile investigating if something more is going on. It’s not uncommon to see children that have pain but don’t want to say anything, so instead, they just refuse to participate. This may be because they are afraid of doctors, worried about getting in trouble or getting told off about how they injured themselves, or fear that the pain will only get worse if someone examines their feet or legs.

The causes we’ve seen for such hesitation can be as simple as blisters between toes, or as complex as neuromuscular conditions presenting for the first time. They could also be experiencing growing pains, which usually starts midway or following physical activity like running. If it’s a concern to you – it’s a concern to us.

3. Aren’t Keeping Up With Classmates

We often try not to compare kids too much as each child has different interests, and some are just naturally faster than others. However, if you notice that your child isn’t keeping up with his or her friends, classmates or teammates to a significant level, it could be because their running style and gait are causing them to overuse their muscles and become quickly fatigued.

We often see this in children with very flat feet or other biomechanical abnormalities. The good news is that often it’s a simple fix by helping support better foot posture and function using children’s foot orthotics that sit seamlessly in their school shoes and sports shoes.

4. Blisters, Corns Or Calluses At The Ends Of One (Or More) Of Their Toes

This one is important to look out for because, to us, it’s the most obvious sign that their feet have outgrown their shoes, and the shoes are now starting to impact their feet. While it’s easy to feel confident in our children’s shoe size, a survey of over 1,000 Australian parents revealed that two out of three children were wearing the wrong shoe size – within one in five children wearing shoes that were two sizes too small

It’s usually the longest toe that suffers first, and this isn’t necessarily the big toe – it’s often the second or third toe too. The risks here include pain from corns, blisters or calluses, to the development of lifelong structural abnormalities of the toe in the form of a claw toe or hammertoe.

5. Foot Or Leg Pain, Of Any Kind

Whether it’s a dull ache, a sharp shooting pain or what people commonly refer to as growing pains, pain is the body’s way of telling us that something has gone wrong – or is warning us that it’s about too. It’s our greatest natural warning sign and should never be ignored.

We’ll perform a comprehensive assessment to uncover the cause of the pain and will be able to discuss all the treatment options and start alleviating the pain. The same goes for swelling – it’s never usually normal, and is most often associated with pain.

Do Your Children Need Their Feet Checked? If they do, we’re here to help. We’re parents too so we get it, and always put the health and well-being of your family first. To make a booking, please give us a call on (03) 972 2927.

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