It is not normal for children to experience foot or lower limb pain, and there is no such thing as “growing pains.” Any pain that lasts more than a few days, or that is severe enough to limit the child’s walking, should be assessed by a podiatrist straight away. Many foot or lower limb problems during adulthood stem from untreated problems during childhood and teenage years. Many of these problems can often be addressed affectively during childhood and the earlier treatment takes place, the more likely positive outcomes can be achieved.
Foot and lower limb pain in children often go unnoticed. This is because signs and symptoms are often subtle, and sometimes children find it hard to explain what is wrong. Because of this, here are five warning signs parents should watch for in their children:
1. Your Kids Can’t Keep Up with Their Peers
If children lag behind in sports or backyard play, it may be because their feet or legs are tired. Fatigue is common when children have flat feet. The muscles in the feet and legs tire easily because the feet are not functioning as well as they should.
2. Children Voluntarily Withdraw from Activities they Usually Enjoy
If they are reluctant to participate, it may be due to heel pain — a problem often seen in children between the ages of 8 and 14. Repetitive stress from sports may cause muscle strain and inflammation of the growth plate, a weak area at the back of a child’s heel.
3. They Don’t Want to Show You Their Feet
Children may feel pain or notice a change in the appearance of their feet or nails but don’t tell their parents because they fear a trip to the doctor’s office. We encourage parents to make a habit of inspecting their child’s feet starting at a young age. Look for any changes such as calluses, growths, skin discoloration, or redness and swelling around the toenails.
4. Your Child Often Trips and Falls
Repeated clumsiness may be a sign of in-toeing, balance problems or neuromuscular conditions.
5. The Child Complains of Pain
It is never normal for a child to have foot pain. Injuries may seem minor, but if pain or swelling last more than a few days, have your child’s foot examined.
A child with any of these signs or symptoms should be promptly examined by a podiatrist for proper diagnosis and treatment.