Pediatric Foot Care

Pediatric Foot Care

Pediatric podiatry differs significantly from adult foot care, emphasizing the unique needs of infants, toddlers, children, and teenagers. Unlike adults, young patients often face a range of congenital foot conditions that require specialized attention. It’s crucial to address any foot or ankle pain in children promptly, as they might not always communicate their discomfort effectively. Observing changes such as an altered gait or limp is key. While many pediatric foot issues are outgrown, others can persist or worsen over time, potentially impacting adulthood. Professional evaluation is essential to distinguish between temporary and long-term foot problems in children.


A variety of infant foot abnormalities are called clubfoot, meaning that the baby’s foot is twisted out of shape or position. In this fairly common deformity, the infant’s foot tendons are shorter than usual. Clubfoot may make it difficult for the toddler to walk, so treatment is usually started shortly after birth.

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Ingrown Toenails

An ingrown toenail is when the sides of the nail grow into the surrounding skin and tissue. Cutting into the skin like this may cause inflammation and infection. Ingrown toenails may be very painful and make it difficult to wear closed-toe shoes. They are very common in teenagers.

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Pediatric Heel Pain

Heel pain in children, although usually not serious, should be looked at and properly treated. These injuries can develop over time and often are due to overuse in rigorous sports training, especially running and jumping.

The most common causes of pediatric heel pain are Sever’s disease, an injury to the growth plate in the lower back of the heel, and Achilles tendonitis, an injury to the Achilles tendon that connects the calf muscles to the heel bone.

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A sprain is an injury to the ligaments that connect bones to one another. This type of injury occurs when the ligament is excessively stretched or even torn. The most common type of sprain for a child is an ankle sprain.

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Plantar Warts

Warts are caused by viruses in the human papillomavirus (HPV) family. When they appear on the soles of the feet, they are called plantar warts because they grow up into the feet toward the plantar fascia tissue. Plantar warts are especially common in children and teenagers.

HPV viruses are very contagious. For children, it’s easy to catch the virus on the soles of their feet when walking barefoot in public areas such as locker rooms, swimming pools and gym showers.

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Flat Feet

Children often exhibit flat feet. Flexible pediatric flatfoot occurs when the arch of the foot disappears when the child stands and then reappears upon sitting. Most children with this condition are born with it and will usually outgrow it by age 5.

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In-toeing and Out-toeing

Children often start walking with their toes and feet turned at an angle. “In-toeing” means the feet turn inward – sometimes referred to as walking “pigeon-toed” – while if they point outward, it’s called “out-toeing.” Most children walk with in-toeing or out-toeing which usually improves as they get older.

Most toddlers walk with in-toeing or out-toeing because of a slight twist or rotation of the lower or upper leg bones. It is uncertain why some children have these gait abnormalities, but a family history may play a role. Cramping in the womb may also contribute to these conditions.

Sports Injuries

Youth safety when playing sports should be of utmost importance for the athletes, parents and coaches. Young athletes should not play or practice through the pain of a sports-related injury. Continuing to stress the injury can cause even more damage and may even end an athletic career.

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Toe Walking

Toe walking, or walking on the toes or the balls of the feet, is common in toddlers who are just learning to walk. Most children outgrow it.

A child who continues to toe walk may do so out of habit. Generally, toe walking is not likely a cause for worry. However, toe walking may result from a shortened Achilles tendon as well as conditions such as muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy and autism spectrum disorder.

How Can I Prevent Pediatric Foot Issues?

Preventing injuries is key, as issues often arise unexpectedly and can significantly impact a child’s development and activity level. Vigilance in monitoring your child’s foot health is crucial, as is fostering an environment conducive to healthy foot development. Ensure your child wears well-fitting, appropriate footwear that offers support and protection, especially during physical activities. Encourage regular, varied physical activity to strengthen the muscles and ligaments in their feet and legs. Teach them about the importance of rest and not ignoring pain or discomfort. Regular foot inspections can help catch potential problems early, and maintaining open communication about foot health can help children understand and report issues promptly. While not all injuries can be prevented, taking these proactive steps can minimize the risk and ensure that any problems are addressed swiftly and effectively, keeping little feet happy and healthy.

Come In Today

Children’s feet grow rapidly, and it’s crucial to pay attention to their development and address any issues early. Proper pediatric foot care can prevent minor issues from becoming major problems as your child grows. At West Hartford Podiatry Associates, we understand the unique needs of growing feet and are committed to providing the best care and support for your child. Whether it’s a routine check-up or treatment for a specific condition, our team is here to ensure your child’s feet are healthy and strong, supporting them every step of the way. If you have concerns about your child’s foot health, schedule an appointment with us. We’re dedicated to helping your little ones put their best foot forward!