As parents, we want our children to remain healthy and happy. But when they are in pain, it is our duty to find the best ways to relieve their discomfort. While many toddlers grow out of flat feet, it is important to pay close attention to your child’s feet in order to ensure they are developing properly.
Pediatric flat feet can be classified as symptomatic or asymptomatic, and are quite common. Symptomatic flat feet exhibit symptoms such as pain and limitation of activity, while asymptomatic flat feet show no symptoms at all.
Flat foot can be apparent at birth or it can show up years later. Most children with flat feet have no symptoms, but some have one or more of the following:
- Pain, tenderness, or cramping in the foot, leg and knee
- Outward tilting of the heel
- Awkwardness or changes in walking
- Difficulty wearing shoes
- Reduced energy
- Voluntary withdrawal from physical activities
How Is Flat Foot Identified?
Your podiatrist will diagnose your child by examining the foot and observing how it looks when he or she stands and sits. Your podiatrist will observe how your child walks and will evaluate the range of motion of the foot. Since flat foot can sometimes be related to problems in the leg, your podiatrist may also examine the knee and hip. X-rays may be used to determine the severity of the deformity, with additional imaging and tests needed for further diagnosis.
Visit our office for further diagnosis and treatment options for your child’s flat feet. While many children do grow out of flat feet, if your child suffers from pain caused by flat foot, we can help them get back on their feet again!
As the temperatures rise and the weather begins to heat up, many will stay cool by slipping on a pair of their favorite flip-flops. Whether you are hitting the beach or simply walking around town, flip-flops are often our selected footwear of choice for those hot, summer months. Unfortunately, wearing flip-flops can lead to painful foot ailments, including cuts and abrasions, broken toes and painful sprains. The flip-flops that are widely purchased today can be extremely unsafe for your feet.
Some flip-flops can be cushioned, which lead people to believe that they are good for your feet, but most offer little to no arch support. Flip-flops can also be very flimsy, which causes them to break down quickly. Shoes that do not offer proper arch support can lead to biomechanical abnormalities starting when the heel strikes the ground. This, in turn, can lead to pain felt in the joints of your foot and ankle, as well as in the knees, hips, lower back, shoulders and neck. If you wear flip-flops, wear them with caution and in moderation. It is important to assess how long you can wear flip-flops on an individual basis and to be aware of the effects they can have on your body.
Tension for Your Toes
Wearing flip-flops may feel like the next best thing to going barefoot, but your feet are working a lot harder than you may realize. By wearing flip-flops, you are forcing a change in your walking stride. With each step you take, your toes pull down on the shoe to stabilize the foot against the ground because your foot has to work harder to keep the flip-flop on. Forcing your toes to act in this unnatural manner can cause toe pain and even stubbed toes.
Problematic Heel Pain
It is estimated by the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons that about 15 percent of all adult foot injuries involve plantar fasciitis, which is an awful pain caused by the overstretching of a tendon in your heel called the plantar fascia. By wearing flip-flops, you are increasing your risk of developing heel pain. While many people don’t want to give up flip-flops, it's important to understand that if you are going to the beach, wear them. However, if you are going to the mall or even an amusement park, don’t wear them.
Wear the Right Shoes for Your Activity
When choosing footwear for summer or vacation, it is important to follow these guidelines for healthy feet:
- Shoes should be lightweight and ventilated.
- Have an extra pair of shoes and alternate between them daily so that each pair has a chance to dry out completely.
- Wear socks that are made of an acrylic fiber, not cotton, as acrylic draws moisture away from the feet.
- Change your socks at least once a day.
Flip-flops should not be worn as everyday shoes—they are meant for the beach and the pool, not for everyday walking. Wearing flip-flops for an occasional stroll may be fine, but you should never overdo it.
If you feel pain in your foot or ankle, visit your podiatrist for further diagnosis and treatment. You can prevent painful foot conditions and injuries by wearing appropriate footwear and avoiding flip-flops.
A survey by The American Podiatric Medical Association found that the vast majority of American adults have foot pain. Pain in the feet is particularly stressful when you have an occupation that requires you to spend a lot of time walking or standing. Dr. Robert Valins, Dr. Maria Walshe, Dr. Harris Kaplan and Dr. Domenick Calise at Total Foot and Ankle in Zephyrhills, Sun City Center, Riverview, and Wesley Chapel, FL can help you deal with your foot pain using therapeutic, orthotic, and surgical treatments.
Causes of Foot Pain
Foot pain can have numerous causes, ranging from complications caused by wearing bad footwear to hereditary diseases. These are a few common causes of foot pain:
- Plantar fasciitis (inflamed ligament at the bottom of the foot).
- Heel spurs (bone growths related to plantar fasciitis).
- Bursitis (swollen sacs on the joints).
- Calluses and corns (growths of skin that can become painful).
- Bunions (protruding toe joints).
- Toe or ankle fractures (cracks or breaks in the bones of the foot).
Dealing with Foot Pain
It's hard to deal with foot pain when you have no other choice than to be on your feet for the majority of your waking moments. The best solution is to develop a relationship with a Zephyrhills, Sun City Center, Riverview, or Wesley Chapel podiatrist to keep up with physical therapies and medications that will help keep your pain at bay. These are some of the most common treatments available for foot pain:
- Corticosteroid injections.
- Foot splinting and wrapping.
- Orthotics to provide better support for the foot while walking and exercising.
- Therapeutic stretches and exercises.
- Surgical procedures to treat bunions, heel spurs, tendonitis, and other acute problems.
Keeping Your Feet Healthy
When your feet hurt, it’s a signal that you are not giving them the best care possible. Re-evaluate your shoe collection, as poorly made shoes are one of the most common reasons for foot problems. Wear the custom orthotics created by your podiatrist. Do foot exercises while you rest to keep the joints and tendons in your feet flexible.
Free from Pain
Foot pain isn’t something you should accept as a reality of life. Get relief from your foot pain by contacting a podiatrist at Total Foot and Ankle in Zephyrhills, Sun City Center, Riverview, or Wesley Chapel, FL. Call to schedule your visit.
Skin cancer is common, accounting for nearly half of all cancers in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society. Despite these shocking statistics, less than one-third of Americans apply sunscreen regularly to protect themselves from the sun’s harmful rays—and when they do, the feet are often overlooked.
During the spring and summer seasons especially, the feet are exposed to the sun’s damaging rays, putting them at just as great of a risk for skin cancer as other frequently exposed parts of the body, such as the face and arms. For this reason, podiatrists warn patients to pay extra attention to their feet during months when the feet are exposed to avoid the harmful effects of the sun.
The good news is that skin cancer of the feet is very preventable. For starters, always apply a generous layer of sunscreen to the tops of the feet, on and between the toes and to the soles of your feet. Reapply every few hours if you are outdoors for an extended period of time. If you are on the beach or at the pool, opt for water shoes rather than flip-flops which offer a sun-blocking mesh cover. And finally, inspect your feet regularly for unusual skin changes or abnormal growths.
Common Warning Signs
Because skin cancer of the feet can easily be mistaken for other, less serious problems--such as a wart, rash or fungal infection--it is important for patients to report any questionable symptoms to their podiatrist. Detecting skin cancer early is the key to optimal treatment.
Podiatrists are trained to diagnose and treat abnormal skin conditions of the feet. If a lesion is determined to be cancerous, our practice will recommend the best course of treatment for your condition.
Backpacks, paper, pencils and clothes are just a few of the things your youngster may need before the start of a new school year. When shopping for your child during back-to-school season and throughout the year, don’t forget to add proper fitting shoes to your shopping list.
Your child’s feet are rapidly changing and growing. In fact, feet grow so fast when kids are young that parents are often surprised at how often they need to change shoe sizes to accommodate the growth.
According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, parents should consider a few things when selecting shoes for their little one. Remember these tips the next time you buy a new pair of shoes for your child:
- Proper size: Ill-fitting footwear can lead to irritation and other problems, so always measure your child’s feet before buying a new pair of shoes. Because feet are seldom the same size, always buy shoes for your child’s larger foot.
- Avoid sharing shoes: Hand-me-down shoes can spread fungi such as nail fungus and athlete’s foot.
- Index finger: As a general rule, leave an index finger's width from the top of the big toe to the end of the shoe.
- Breathing room: Buy shoes made of natural, breathable fabrics that are soft and pliable like your child’s feet.
- Test them out: Always bring your child with you to the store to try on shoes before purchasing a new pair. When testing out shoes, the child should wear the socks that they would normally wear to ensure proper fit. Have your child walk around the store to test comfort and fit.
- Examine the shoe itself: Your child’s shoe should have a firm heel counter, adequate cushioning of the insole, good flexibility and a built-in arch.
Because kids’ feet are soft and pliable, pressure on them at a young age can easily cause foot problems and deformity. By promoting healthy footwear choices and consulting your podiatrist whenever you suspect your child has a foot problem, you can ensure the healthy development of their feet.
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