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Podiatry: Common Pediatric Foot Problems
Podiatry, also commonly known as podiatric medicine, is a branch of medicine that is devoted to the treatment of the foot, ankle and related-leg structures. Podiatrists can treat people of any age for a variety of foot complications. When many people think about foot problems, they think of issues that usually develop later in life. But foot problems are also common in children. Read on to find out some common pediatric problems that you should watch out for.
Podiatry and pediatric foot conditions
Kids are affected by many of the same foot problems that adults are. Some of the problems can take on different characteristics. Others may occur more frequently in children because of several factors including their active lifestyles and the nature of their developing bodies. Some common pediatric problems are ingrown toenails, plantar warts and heel pain.
An ingrown toenail occurs when the nail’s edge, often on the big toe, ends up growing into the skin adjacent to it. This can cause pain and usually results in an infection. This condition can affect anyone regardless of age, but it frequently occurs in children, particularly teens. Ingrown toenails can be caused by many things including shoe pressure or the crowding of toes. Ingrown toenails are common in children partly due to shoe wear since kids are more likely to experience tight-fitting shoes as growth spurts happen.
Warts are one of multiple soft tissue conditions that affect the foot that can be very painful. Warts are caused by a virus and can develop anywhere on the skin. Warts that appear on the sole of the foot are referred to as plantar warts. Children are usually more likely to develop warts than adults. Even though warts may be painful, most of them are harmless.
Many people mistake them for corns or calluses, which are dead skin layers that build up to protect an area that is being irritated continuously. But the wart is a common viral infection. Plantar warts are usually hard and flat and have well-defined boundaries and rough surfaces. When warts appear on the toes or on top of the foot, the warts are generally fleshier and raised. Plantar warts are usually brown or gray, however, the color may vary. Plantar warts can cause sharp, burning pain when warts develop on areas of the foot that bear weight like the heel or ball of the foot.
Heel pain is usually associated with plantar fasciitis, which is an inflamed region of the heel bone where a thick tissue band known as the plantar fascia attaches. This form of heel pain is experienced at the bottom of the heel. One common reason children are susceptible to heel pain is that calf muscles and the Achilles tendon are usually tight during growth spurts. This can put a lot of stress on the heel bone.
Children are susceptible to many foot problems including heel pain, plantar warts and ingrown toenails. If you suspect your child has a foot condition, you should seek the care of a qualified doctor. A doctor who focuses on podiatry can prevent, diagnose and treat pediatric foot problems. A podiatrist can provide the appropriate treatment for your child’s condition.
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