Should You Take Your Child to a Podiatrist?

Suresh Sivacolundhublog

Is your child showing discomfort in their feet? Are they having difficulty walking orShould You Take Your Child to a Podiatrist running? If you have noticed your child struggling to keep up with other children during play, you must take these concerns seriously, as foot issues may impact your child's quality of life. These issues may influence your child’s ability to engage in play and sports, possibly leading to greater physical problems as they age.  

Although podiatry visits are often associated with adults in the workforce or older patients, children also face various foot and ankle issues tied to their growth, development, and injuries. It is essential to address these conditions at their onset for the best chance of appropriate treatment.

So, at this point, you’re probably asking the question: should you take your child to a podiatrist? The answer is that many childhood foot problems may be resolved with simple home care or naturally over time. However, addressing any issues early with a podiatrist, especially during your child’s developing years, may help to reduce the risk of reoccurring problems affecting your child into adulthood. 

For personalised advice, contact our team at The Foot Clinic today.

When Should You Take Your Child to a Podiatrist?

  • Milestones: Your child doesn't begin walking by 18 months of age. While many factors may contribute to this delay, visiting a podiatrist is essential to assess any physical issues with your child’s feet or ankles.
  • Irregularities: Your child displays pigeon-toed, bow-legged, or flat-footed characteristics. Developmental irregularities in your child’s foot may lead to persistent foot pain and more serious issues if left unaddressed in childhood. A podiatrist will assess your child's feet to check the severity of the condition and recommend appropriate corrective measures, which may include custom orthotics, night braces, or exercises.
  • Deformities: Toes that overlap or cross each other, a bulge at the base of the big toe (otherwise known as the bunion), or toes bending downward (hammertoe or clawfoot) indicate that you should take your child to see a podiatrist. 
  • Noticeable changes in your child’s feet: Symptoms such as redness, flakiness, itching, or oozing skin may indicate athlete’s foot, while thickening or discolouring of the toenail may signal a fungal infection. It’s important that you regularly check your child’s feet for other abnormal signs like swelling, bruising, or growth.
  • Limping or signs of discomfort: Young children may not tell you about their foot pain, but indications of discomfort include a reluctance to engage in physical activities they typically enjoy, an inability to keep pace with other children during play or sports, frequent stops to sit down, or complaints of tired legs.
  • Unexplained persistent pain: Often mistaken as ‘growing pains’, conditions like stress fractures or Sever’s disease may not result from a specific injury but rather from repetitive pressure on a certain area of the foot during sports or other activities, leading to overuse injuries.
  • Family history: A family history of foot conditions is an indicator when considering whether to take your child to see a podiatrist. Research suggests that many foot conditions, such as flat feet, high arches, bunions, and certain structural abnormalities, may have a genetic component. A history of such conditions within the family tends to increase the likelihood that your child may inherit or develop similar issues.

At What Age Should You Take Your Child to a Podiatrist? 

Child PodiatristWhile the idea of taking your infant or toddler to a podiatrist might not immediately come to mind, early identification and treatment of common foot problems in childhood may lead to improved healing and quicker recovery for your child. 

Although certain conditions like clubfoot may be apparent at birth, many foot problems in children become evident later and are typically noticed during the early stages of walking, typically between the ages of one and three years old. Different conditions manifest with distinct signs and symptoms. While paediatricians may identify when something is wrong, diagnosis and treatment of foot problems in babies, toddlers, and children require the assistance of a podiatrist. 

Children may experience ingrown toenails when they begin wearing shoes, particularly as they outgrow them. 

While many gait issues like toe-walking or pigeon-toeing may resolve over time, you should seek treatment from a podiatrist who has a special interest in paediatrics if problems persist or if your child starts complaining of foot pain. 

Podiatrists With An Interest In Paediatrics 

Whether you've observed something unusual about your child's feet or it’s come up during a regular doctor’s checkup, a general physician doesn’t have a specific focus on foot disorders. In contrast, a podiatrist with a special interest in childrens feet is trained to assess and address foot problems, specifically in children. From infancy, where issues may first surface, to toddlerhood and early childhood, podiatrists are equipped with specific knowledge related to foot disorders. 

Just as a physician would refer your child to a dermatologist for skin issues or a cardiologist for heart concerns, it’s best to consult a podiatrist for your child’s foot and ankle conditions. A podiatrist should aim to devise a treatment plan tailored to your child's individual needs, ensuring their best interests are prioritised, and potential issues are addressed proactively.

Book Your Appointment with a Children’s Foot Podiatrist in Perth Today

For nearly 30 years, The Foot Clinic has provided paediatric care for children and adults alike. Located in Cottesloe, our podiatrists excel in managing a wide range of foot and lower limb conditions in children while creating a warm and reassuring environment where children feel secure. Schedule an appointment today to see one of our friendly and experienced podiatrists.