A foot and ankle doctor is a medical professional who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions affecting the foot and ankle. These specialists are often referred to as podiatrists. These specialists not only see adult patients but also children.
Whether it’s due to a congenital issue or a consequence of their active lifestyle, children can suffer from a lot of foot and ankle issues, which can make walking or running painful. No parent wants to see their child suffer from foot and ankle issues. The treatment of your child’s podiatry issues deserves the expertise of a foot and ankle doctor, so it’s best to go directly to one for your child’s care.
Let’s talk about how a podiatrist can help your child.
Pediatric Conditions a Podiatrist Can Treat
Below are some of the common pediatric foot and ankle conditions that a podiatrist can treat:
- Clubfoot is a common pediatric condition in which the foot turns inward and downward caused by a genetic abnormality. A podiatrist can recommend a course of physical therapy and/or bracing to help correct the deformity. In more severe cases, surgery may be necessary to reposition the bones and tendons in the foot. Clubfoot, if treated by an expert, does not necessarily become a handicap.
- Flatfoot is a common condition that can be present at birth or develop over time due to muscle weakness or injury to the foot’s ligaments and tendons that could be due to obesity. A podiatrist can provide custom orthotics to help support the foot and prevent pain and other foot issues down the road.
- Heel pain in children is often caused by a condition called Sever’s disease. This is a type of inflammation that occurs at the back of the heel, where the Achilles tendon attaches to the bone. Sever’s disease usually affects children between the ages of 8 and 14 years old and is more common in boys than girls. Podiatrists usually treat Sever’s disease by recommending rest from activities that aggravate the condition, such as running or playing sports. Ice packs may also be used to reduce swelling and pain. In some cases, special shoe inserts or orthotics can be helpful in managing symptoms.
- Plantar warts are generally caused by HPV (human papillomavirus) infection of the skin on the soles of the feet. This can occur when children walk barefoot in public places or share towels or shoes with someone who has HPV. A podiatrist can treat plantar warts using topical medications, cryotherapy (freezing), and/or surgery.
- Growing pains are a common complaint among children, especially those between the ages of 3 and 5. There was a time when growing pains were believed to be related to rapid growth spurts during early childhood, however, this has not been proven. Excessive physical activity and poor foot and leg alignment may be the underlying reason why your child experiences leg pain at night. A podiatrist can determine the underlying cause of your child’s symptoms and recommend treatment, which may include activity modification, footwear recommendations, and stretching and strengthening exercises.
Children’s feet are still growing and changing, and a podiatrist can examine your child’s feet, and diagnose and correct foot and ankle issues that can cause developmental and structural problems of the lower extremities. This period of time is important to ensure the issues do not interfere with their healthy development.
Podiatrists in St. Peters, O’Fallon, and Wentzville, MO
At Advanced Bone & Joint, we have a board-certified podiatrist, Dr. Anthony Lombardo, who can provide comprehensive treatment for your child’s foot and ankle issues. Dr. Lombardo is highly skilled in advanced surgical techniques and offers a wide range of non-surgical treatments for pediatric foot and ankle conditions, such as customized orthotics.
Dr. Lombardo loves kids and is driven to ensure every young patient is given the best chance to develop into a healthy and physically active adult. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Lombardo, call our office today at (636) 229-4222 or use our convenient online request form. Our friendly staff looks forward to serving you!