There are numerous foot, toe, and ankle conditions that can affect children, although many aren't a serious cause for concern. If you're worried about your child's foot and ankle problems, Maguire & Early Orthopedics can help. Experienced pediatric orthopedic specialists Michael Maguire, MD, and Sean Early, MD, have offices in Santa Barbara and Pismo Beach, California, where they provide nonsurgical and minimally invasive surgical treatments for foot and ankle conditions in children. To take advantage of their expertise in restoring function and relieving foot and ankle pain, call Maguire & Early Orthopedics or book an appointment online today.
Ankle problems that may affect your child include:
Ankle fractures – where one or more bones in the ankle breaks – are common childhood injuries that often involve the growth plates, which could cause problems in the way the leg bones grow. Children are more likely to break their tibia or fibula (the lower leg bones) than the talus (a small foot bone).
Sprains are injuries of the ligaments that hold the bones together in your child's feet. Twisting or bending the ankle excessively can stretch or tear the ligaments and is a common cause of ankle pain.
Foot problems that may affect your child include:
If your child has flexible flatfoot, it means the arch of their foot disappears when they stand up, reappearing when they sit down again. Most children with flexible flatfoot outgrow this problem, which doesn't usually cause pain or problems with physical activity.
Intoeing or being pigeon-toed causes your child to point their feet inward when they walk instead of straight ahead. Most children's intoeing is painless and corrects itself without any special treatment.
Clubfoot is a congenital disease – one your child is born with – where one or both feet turn inward and point down.
There are also a number of problems that can affect a child's toes, including deformities like hammer, mallet, or claw toes, where the toes point downward, bunions and bunionettes (bony lumps), polydactyly (an extra toe), and syndactyly (webbed toes).
Many problems that children have with their feet don't require any treatment. For instance, conditions like flatfeet, polydactyly, syndactyly, and intoeing that aren't causing your child any issues cause no harm if left untreated.
Other pediatric foot and ankle conditions might benefit from physical therapy, including stretching exercises, or the use of orthotics – shoe inserts that provide precision support to the affected foot. Immobilization and rest can also be beneficial in many cases.
The Ponseti technique, which combines gentle manipulation with weekly foot casting, is a highly effective way of treating clubfoot. Some children may need surgery for foot and ankle problems, such as removing a troublesome extra toe, reconstruction of fixed flatfeet to create an arch or bone realignment.
For expert care of all your child's foot and ankle problems, call Maguire & Early Orthopedics today or book an appointment online.