Foot Disorders

FOOT DISORDERS IN CHILDRENS :

As time passes, you may notice that your child’s growth isn’t completely on the straight and narrow. Many young kids have flatfeet, toe walking, pigeon toes, bowlegs, and knock-knees.

As kids grow, some of these conditions correct themselves without treatment. Others don’t or become more severe because of other medical conditions. But many orthopedic (bone) conditions, just like dimples or cleft chins, are just normal variations of human anatomy that don’t need to be treated.

FLATFEET:

Most babies are born with flatfeet and develop arches as they grow. But in some kids, the arch never fully develops. Parents often first notice this because their child has what they describe as “weak ankles” (which appear to turn inward because of the way the feet are planted).

Flatfeet usually don’t cause problems. Doctors only consider treatment if it becomes painful. They also don’t recommend any special footwear, such as high-top shoes, because these don’t affect the development of the arch.

TOE WALKING:

Toe walking is common among toddlers as they learn to walk, especially during the second year of life. The tendency often goes away by age 3, although it lasts in some kids.

Occasional toe walking should not be cause for concern, but kids who walk on their toes almost all the time and continue to do so should see a doctor. Persistent toe walking in older kids or toe walking only on one leg might be linked to other conditions, such as cerebral palsy, muscle weakness disorders, autism, or other nervous system problems.

If an otherwise healthy child has persistent toe walking, the doctor might recommend a few visits, physical therapists, to learn stretching exercises. Once a child is of a certain age, casting the foot and ankle may be needed to help stretch the calf muscles.

IN-TOEING (PIGEON TOES):

Babies may have a natural turning in of the legs at about 8 to 15 months of age when they begin standing. As they get older, parents may notice their children walking with feet turn inward, also called in-toeing, or walking pigeon-toed. Intoeing can have a few different causes that are normal variations in the way the legs and feet line up.

Children who intoe and trip often may have internal tibial torsion, in which the lower part of the leg is rotated inward. Children over the age of 3 or 4 with intoeing may have femoral anteversion, in which there is a greater-than-normal rotation in the upper part of the leg, which causes the upper leg to rotate inward. In some children, intoeing can be related to existing medical problems such as cerebral palsy.

KNOCK-KNEES:

Most kids show a moderate tendency toward knock-knees (also called genu valgum) between the ages of 3 and 6, as the body goes through a natural alignment shift. Treatment is almost never needed because the legs usually straighten on their own.

Severe knock-knees or knock-knees that are more pronounced on one side sometimes do need treatment. Devices like braces, splints and shoe inserts aren’t helpful and are no longer used. In rare cases where children have symptoms such as pain or difficulty running, surgery might be considered after age 10.

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