Children’s feet change as they grow. There are some common conditions that affect children and these should be seen by a foot health professional to make sure they don’t become too much of an issue, making walking and activity painful.
We recommend parents become familiar with their children’s feet. Here we touch upon Ingrown toenails, Corns & Callus, Flat Feet and Orthotic Insoles.
Ingrown toenails are one of the most common complaints that a podiatrists/foot health practitioner are asked to treat.
It can be very painful condition and because of fear of surgery many people put off seeking treatment until the nail has deteriorated to a chronic state. Many ingrown toe nails can be treated without the need for surgery, although conservative measures may mean that you have to visit a foot health professional at regular intervals to remove ingrowing nail spikes or to prevent the nail ingrowing by professional cutting. However, many recurring ingrown nails are best treated surgically in-clinic under local anaesthetic with the procedure taking less than 1 hour.
The surgical procedure carried out by podiatrists is to remove the ingrown partial or total nail under a local anaesthetic. To stop the offending part from regrowing, a chemical is applied to the tissue from which the nail grows. This method leaves no scar on the skin and for a partial nail avulsion (removal), leaves most of the nail in place resulting in a good cosmetic appearance. Healing is slightly slower by this method, but there is usually less post-operative pain than with other procedures.
If you have pain in your toe nails see your foot health professional, the treatment may not be as bad as you might imagine and will not always require surgical removal of the nail under local anaesthetic.
Corns & Callus
The skin is able to protect itself from pressure by growing more quickly, forming a thick outer layer. Sometimes the pressure is too high and the outer layer of skin becomes so thick that it acts like a foreign body on the skin. This is a callus.
A focus of pressure within the callus can occur causing a hard plug of skin to form and this is a corn.
Corns and calluses are the body’s protective mechanism gone wrong. Because corns and callus form on the dead outer layer of the skin there is no “root”.
A foot health professional will treat corns and calluses by debriding or paring the callus and removing the centre of the corn. Pads are often used to reduce the friction and pressure of the corn. The podiatrist will also discuss the type of footwear most likely to cause corns or calluses and in some extreme cases prescribe orthotics to reduce excessive weight bearing forces on the foot. Your foot health professional will finally devise a treatment plan that may include the following:
- Recommend regular treatment of debriding the thickened skin
- Suggest a softening cream
- Advise on self care
- Give footwear advice or prescribe special footwear
- Provide padding devices to take the pressure of the painful area
- Analyse the pattern of walking and prescribe functional orthoses to help correct it.
- Refer for a surgical remedy if required
Many babies naturally appear flat-footed and usually this will disappear as the baby begins to stand and walk. Children with flat feet, or low arches may not be able to keep up with other children because of the added strain on feet and legs.
There is no way of giving a child an arch if they have a true flat foot. However, many children who appear flat-footed have a normal arch but flatten it when they stand. This movement is called pronation and may be cause a variety of painful symptoms, make the child tire easily or have problems with gross motor skills. If a child is pronating their feet, orthotic insoles may be useful to improve foot movement and relieve any painful symptoms.
It is important to discuss your child’s mobility and foot care problems with your foot health professional who can advise which service or professional support is most appropriate to your child’s needs. After assessing your child’s foot function the foot health professional may recommend orthotic insoles to help relieve foot pain and discomfort.
Orthotic devices can be used to maintain proper foot support. They are made of moulded to fit the child’s foot shape and must be remade as the child grows older. Orthotic Insoles help to support and realign the foot, assisting with the distribution of body weight evenly. They can be used for all for a variety of problems including pain, poor stability and gross motor (physical) problems. These devices are not simple arch supports and need to be custom-made for each individual.
After assessing your foot function, your foot healthcare professional at We Fix Feet may recommend orthoses or insoles to help relieve foot pain and discomfort.